Study from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Determines Greenland's Glaciers Melting Twice as Fast as Previously Estimated

Satellite observations indicate that Greenland's glaciers have been dumping ice into the Atlantic Ocean at a rate that's doubled over the past five years, researchers reported here on Thursday.

The findings add yet another factor to the long-running debate over the effect of climate change on the world's ice sheets and sea levels.

The Greenland ice sheet -- two miles thick and broad enough to blanket an area the size of Mexico -- shapes the world's weather, matched in influence by only Antarctica in the Southern Hemisphere.

It glows like milky mother-of-pearl. The sheen of ice blends with drifts of cloud as if snowbanks are taking flight.

In its heartland, snow that fell a quarter of a million years ago is still preserved. Temperatures dip as low as 86 degrees below zero. Ground winds can top 200 mph. Along the ice edge, meltwater rivers thread into fraying brown ropes of glacial outwash, where migrating herds of caribou and musk ox graze.