Greenland’s Glacial Ice losses have septupled and are now in line with its Highest Sea-Level Senario

“For several summers, this deeply incised melt channel transported overflow from a large Greenland melt lake to a moulin, a conduit that drains the water through many hundreds of feet to the ice sheet’s bed.” (Ian Joughin)


“Greenland’s ice losses have septupled and are now in line with its highest sea-level scenario,” scientists say

“That’s according to 26 separate satellite measurements and 89 scientists who have produced them.

 by Chris Mooney

“While a centimeter may not sound like much, that uptick is already affecting millions.

“Around the planet, just 1 centimeter of sea-level rise brings another 6 million people into seasonal, annual floods,” said Andrew Shepherd, a University of Leeds professor who co-led the massive collaboration with NASA researcher Erik Ivins.

“The results, from a scientific group called the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE), were published Tuesday in the journal Nature.

“The research suggests an alarming pace of change for the Earth’s second-largest body of ice, which could theoretically drive more than 20 feet of sea-level rise over a millennium.

“The recent Greenland losses, the experts suggest, match a more dire sea-level projection outlined by the United Nations’ chief climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Under that high-end scenario, Greenland could contribute about 16 centimeters, or around half a foot, to ocean levels by 2100.

“What that means is that really, the midrange scenario becomes what was previously the upper scenario, and they will have to invent a new upper scenario, because one currently doesn’t exist, “ Shepherd said.

“Much more sea-level rise would then come from melting in Antarctica and smaller glaciers around the world, along with the expansion of ocean water that stems from warmer temperatures. It is not yet clear whether these other components of the sea-level equation are also following the high end, or worst-case, path, however, and the current study was focused only on Greenland. (While Greenland is the biggest contributor to sea-level rise at the present moment, Antarctica ultimately has a larger long-term potential to raise seas.)

“Sea-level rise would only continue” and, perhaps, accelerate further” after 2100.”

“Greenland is the world’s largest island, covered with a continuous sheet of ice produced by many thousands of years of snowfall. The ice sheet’s size rivals that of Alaska, and its center is well over a mile thick.

“The ice flows outward under its own weight toward the ocean, but because of ”

“Greenland’s mountainous and rocky coastline, it usually reaches the sea in fingerlike glaciers that extend outward through fjords. These fjords are partially submerged valleys, which were themselves excavated over vast stretches of geological time by the glaciers’ movement.”


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