Greenland's Ice Is Melting, Seven-Times Faster Than the 1990s

Melting of ice in Iceland is faster than the 1990s, and worse than IPCC's high-end climate scenario.
Nursah Ergü

According to an assessment conducted by a team of polar scientists, Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than it was in the 1990s. This life-threatening scenario is similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenario but worse.  

Sea level rises are expected to reach 67 cm by the end of the 21st century and this number is 7 cm more than IPCC's prediction. This number will put the lives of millions of people at risk with flooding every year. 


Professor Andrew Shepherd at the University of Leeds, who led the assessment along with Dr. Erik Ivins at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, said, "As a rule of thumb, for every centimeter rise in global sea level another six million people are exposed to coastal flooding around the planet. On current trends, Greenland ice melting will cause 100 million people to be flooded each year by the end of the century, so 400 million in total due to all sea-level rise. These are not unlikely events or small impacts; they are happening and will be devastating for coastal communities."

The rise in sea level can cause storm surges too, especially in the coastal areas of the world. 

The team also suggested that half of the ice losses were caused by a rise in the air temperatures and the half was caused by rising ocean temperatures which triggers the increase in glacier flow. 

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The peak number of ice loss was 335 billion tonnes in 2011, which was 10 times higher than the rate of the 1990s. Right now, it's approximately 238 billion tonnes per year, still, it's 7 times higher than the 1990s. Also, this rate doesn't include 2019, because of the widespread summer melting, the rate can increase. 

Dr. Erik Ivins said, "Satellite observations of polar ice are essential for monitoring and predicting how climate change could affect ice losses and sea-level rise. While computer simulation allows us to make projections from climate change scenarios, the satellite measurements provide prima facie, rather irrefutable, evidence. Our project is a great example of the importance of international collaboration to tackle problems that are global in scale."

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