February 21, 2019

New Data On Greenland's Melting Ice Spells Trouble for Coastal Cities

25 January 2019, 04:12 | Dale Webster

Greenland's ice melting faster than scientists previously thought – study

Greenland Ice

Also, it's accelerating the ice meltdown in combination with global warming and its consequences on other weather phenomena. "This is going to cause additional sea level rise".

Should the entire west Antarctic ice sheet collapse, sea levels would balloon by around 3.5 metres, albeit over a lengthy time frame.

The study was first published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and used data from NASA's gravity recovery and climate experiment (GRACE), as well as from Global Positioning System stations on Greenland.

"Whatever this was, it couldn't be explained by glaciers, because there are not many there".

That means that in the southwestern part of Greenland, growing rivers of water are streaming into the ocean.

The blocks of ice then trail off and melt into the Atlantic, contributing to the rise of sea levels.

"We knew we had one big problem with increasing rates of ice discharge by some large outlet glaciers".

Cities like NY and Miami will bear the brunt of the damage but island nations will be particularly vulnerable to the damage.

Michael Bevis, a professor at Ohio State University and lead author of the PNAS paper, said the ice now appeared to be melting from the surface mass, "melting inland from the coastline".

"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future", Bevis said.

"The bottom line of this study is that Greenland has hit a tipping point in terms of its melting point".

Data collected by NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) suggests Greenland lost an approximate 280 gigatons of water a year between 2002 and 2016. For one, Greenland's sensitivity to the NAO highlights just how vulnerable ice is to a slight uptick in air temperatures, a finding with clear implications at a time when the Arctic is warming incredibly quickly.

However, the rate of ice loss across the island was far from steady. In a previous study, glaciologists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) concluded that melting in Greenland's ice sheet "has gone into overdrive", showing that it is unprecedented in the last 400 years.

The patterns they found show an alarming trend - by 2012, ice was being lost at almost four times the rate which prevailed in 2003, researchers said.

The scientists found that the ice is disappearing four times faster than it was in 2003 - and a decent lump of that acceleration is happening in southwest Greenland.

When in a particular ("negative") phase, the NAO enhances summertime warming and the solar radiation that reaches the Earth's surface, while reducing snowfall - especially in western Greenland.

"The only thing we can do is adapt and mitigate further global warming..."

Enormous glaciers in Greenland are depositing ever larger chunks of ice into the Atlantic ocean, where it melts. It's because the atmosphere is, at its baseline, warmer.

Even more, both Southwest Greenland and Eastern Antarctic Ice Shelf were deemed as safe regions, not affected by global warming and ice sheet meltdown.

And a big part of the global ice melt issue is the ice of southwest Greenland, which is definitely a point scientists did not think was melting as fast as it is. Essentially, the study confirms that the warming of the Earth's atmosphere (and oceans) is definitely occurring at a rate faster than what scientists had thought. If the ice on the world's largest island is melting more quickly than previous realized, that spells trouble.

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