Greenland ice sheet melting to a point of no return; researchers

climate

The ice sheet in Greenland has melted to a point of no return and the efforts to slow global warming will not help it from disintegrating, according to a new study by Ohio State University.

Lead author Michalea King said that the ice sheet in green land dumped more than 280 billion metric tonnes of ice into the ocean every year, which has led to a rise in sea level. She said that the massive loss of ice in the region has also caused a measurable change in the gravitational field over Greenland.

The melting of ice in Greenland is said to add more than a millimetre to sea level rise every year. This is likely to get worse in the coming years, the researchers opined. The sea level is projected to rise by more than three feet by the end of the century.

Noting that the ice sheet was now in a dynamic state, co- author of the study Ian Howat said the Greenland would be losing mass quickly even if the climate was reversed to that of 20 or 30 years ago.

The researchers said that coastal states like Florida and low lying island nations are vulnerable. They said that three feet of rise in sea level is enough to put large areas of coastline underwater.

In the study, the researchers found that the ice sheet was retreating in rapid bursts that lead to sudden and unpredictable rise in sea levels. The researchers used satellite data of four decades to look into the changes in the ice sheet in Greenland. They found that the ice sheet shrank rapidly after 2000. The melting from other parts of the glacier that was exposed to warmer ocean water also led to this shrinking.

Howat said that the entire coasts of ice are retreating due to climate change. The researcher said that all the 200 glaciers that make up the ice sheet in Greenland ice were observed.

Noting out that the retreat of ice sheet cannot be reversed, Howart said that the melting of the ice sheet will get worse if the climate change continues at the present rate.

 

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