Greenland ice sheet melting, sea levels to rise by 27 cm
Ice caps melting in Greenland at a rapid rate are causing concerns about rising sea levels that will eventually lead to bigger disasters affecting smaller coastal regions.
A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday revealed that Greenland’s rapidly melting ice sheet will raise the global sea level by around 27 centimeters, regardless if the greenhouse gas emissions, which by themselves are a leading cause of climate change, end overnight.
According to the study, the ice will lose about 3.3% of its total volume by the year 2100, which is a colossal 110 trillion metric tons of ice - more than twice as much as previously expected. Professor Jason Box who headed the research from the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland known as Geus stated, “It is a very conservative rock-bottom minimum. Realistically, we will see this figure more than double within this century.”
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The study also found that continued carbon (CO2) emissions and the melting of other ice caps, alongside the ocean's thermal expansion, contribute to an inevitable scenario of a significant sea-level rise. Last year, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) analysis reported that by 2100, an anticipated rise range of 6 to 13 centimeters of sea level from ice melting in Greenland is expected. Nations like New Zealand and the UK are at risk, but those under the most threat are the Small Developing Island States (SIDS) like Fiji.
Carbon Dioxide levels are anticipated to increase to become 50% higher than in the pre-industrial era. This, according to US government data, pushed the planet and will continue to do so in coming years into conditions that have not existed for millions of years.
Although computer models were utilized to understand ice cap behavior in previous studies, the latest study resorted to satellite measurements of ice losses from Greenland, while referring to the shape of the ice cap from 2000-19 for additional measurement. The scientists examined ice in balance in terms of how much snowfall is happening compared to how much ice is melting. In usual conditions, snowfall adds thickness to the sides of the glaciers and balances out what is melting from the edges.
Unfortunately, the main concern is that not enough replenishment is occurring as ice continues to melt, thus creating an imbalance and no ice to replace the losses.
With billions of people living in coastal regions which are at risk of flooding due to rising sea levels, scientists argue if Greenland’s record melt of 2012 becomes a frequent event later this century, then the ice cap will amount to a distressing and alarming 78-centimeter sea-level increase, adding more to the possibilities of flood occurrences.
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