Greenland’s ice sheet melts much faster than scientists expect, study says

A new study has found that Greenland’s ice melts much faster than early warnings, according tomedia Slash Gear. Although scientists have been monitoring melting ice sheets for years and inferring how many coastal areas are at risk of being completely submerged, a new study suggests the reality could be even worse.

Greenland's ice sheet melts much faster than scientists expect, study says

As early as 2013, these estimates were already quite worrying. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has calculated that global sea levels could rise by 60cm by 2100. In addition, 360 million people may be at risk of coastal flooding each year.

But the reality could be worse. From the 1990s to last year, the rate of ice loss increased sevenfold, from 33 billion tons a year to 254 billion tons a year. The scientists in charge of the new study say this will have an incredible impact on flood prediction.

The results of the IMBIE team’s work, published this week in the journal Nature, used data from 11 satellite missions and 26 independent surveys to track changes in the mass of the ice sheet in Greenland between 1992 and 2018. 3.8 trillion tons of ice have been lost since 1992. That alone would be enough to raise global sea levels by 10.6 mm (0.42 inches). At first glance, this doesn’t seem to be much. But this suggests that Greenland’s melting ice is actually tracking the worst-case scenario suggested by the IPCC, with global sea levels rising by 7cm by 2100.

“According to experience, for every centimetre of sea level rise around the world, 6 million people are affected by coastal flooding,” explains lead study leader Professor Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds. On current trends, the melting of ice in Greenland will affect 100 million people a year by the end of this century, bringing the total to 400 million as a result of all sea level rise. “

Despite doubts about global climate change, Shepherd and study co-author Dr Erik Ivins of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory believe these factors are obvious. They found that half of the ice loss could be due to melting surfaces caused by rising temperatures. As ocean temperatures rise, much of the rest is due to increased loss of glaciers.

Earlier this year, NASA released an ice melting data so that everyone can check the changing sea ice and glacier levels in Antarctica and Greenland. The data comes from the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation 2 satellite (ICESat-2), launched in late 2018, which uses ultra-high-precision lasers to track changing levels.

Last month, the United Nations issued a report on climate change and warned that even if current targets were to be met, current commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were simply inadequate. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) concluded: “In the 10 years since we produced the emissions gap report, the gap between what we should be doing and what we actually do is unprecedented. “

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