Sea levels set to rise more than expected due to 'deeply surprising' Greenland melt

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
December 14, 2009



A new study by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program estimates that the sea will rise by 0.5 to 1.5 meters by 2100, threatening coastal cities and flooding island nations. This is double the predicted rise estimated by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change (IPCC) in 2007, which did not incorporate sea level rise due to the melting of Greenland and Antarctica's ice sheets.

Most surprisingly, the study found that discharge from Greenland had increased by 30 percent over the last decade: jumping from 330 billion giga tons in 1995 to 430 billion giga tons in 2005.

"We know that the Arctic has warmed enormously over the past 50 years and that the temperatures over Greenland have increased by more than twice the global average. Despite these observations, it is deeply surprising and worrying to see the pace of the changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet", lead author, Professor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, University of Copenhagen said in a press release.

The study highlights the importance of continuing research on melting ice in Greenland.

"Greenland’s Ice Sheet is the single largest body of freshwater ice in the northern hemisphere. It contains around 3 million km of ice and, if it were to melt completely, this would cause global sea level to rise by roughly 7 meters […] Already now we are seeing how the areas experiencing surface melt are expanding northwards and that the periods of melt in southern Greenland are getting longer. The development in the last decade has taken scientists by surprise and it is still uncertain how the ice will react to future climate change. Therefore, it is essential to intensify the ice sheet research," explains Dorthe Dahl-Jensen.







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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (December 14, 2009).

Sea levels set to rise more than expected due to 'deeply surprising' Greenland melt.

http://news.mongabay.com/2009/1214-hance_greenmelt.html