NASA unleashes rubber ducks to battle global warming

It's about as low-tech as you can get from one of the most high-tech organizations.  NASA, this week said it let out an army of rubber ducks - 90 to be precise - to help it better understand the movement of one of the world's fastest moving blocks of ice, Greenland's Jakobshavn glacier.

The ducks have a lot of pressure on them no doubt.  The ice warriors and a small football-sized probe that includes a GPS and some scientific instruments were dumped into a hole on the glacier and have as their mission to discover what exactly is going on inside Jakobshavn. Specifically scientists are trying to see how water flows in and around the glacier during the summertime when glaciers speed up, a phenomenon not completely understood by scientists.

But the key feature of the ducks is about as low-tech as you can get: they have a little label on them stating "science experiment" and "reward" in three languages, and carry an email address. The idea is that folks will email NASA if they find the rubber quackers they can tell NASA where the duck ended up, thus establishing some sense of water flow.

The probe of course would reveal more.  According to a Reuters report the device would signal its position via GPS. Its pressure and temperature sensors would supply information. And an accelerometer -- which records how much things speed up or slow down -- could point to waterfalls or cascades, features that would make the probe, and the water, go faster, the report said.

 According to Reuters the Jakobshavn Glacier is likely the source of the iceberg that sank the Titanic in 1912 and researchers focus on it because it discharges nearly 7%of all the ice coming off Greenland.

Melting glaciers are a big concern as they could cause the oceans to rise and flood coastal communities.

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