Science 2 min read

Greenland Ice is Melting Seven Times Faster than in the 1990s

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A team of scientists from various international organizations has created a complete picture of Greenland ice loss to date. It turns out that the island is losing more ice than expected.

According to a 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecast, the global sea level will rise by 60 centimeters by 2100. That means over 360 million people will be at risk of annual coastal flooding.

However, the increase in Greenland’s ice sheet melting could raise the sea level more than the forecast anticipated.

For the study, the polar scientists combined 25 surveys to analyze the changes in the mass of Greenland’s ice sheet between 1992 and 2018. Along with data from 11 satellites, the team also considered the ice sheet‘s changing volume, flow, and gravity.

Here’s what the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) team discovered.

Greenland Ice Losses Rising Faster than Anticipated

Findings from the study suggest that Greenland has lost 3.8 million tons of ice since 1992. That’s enough to raise the global sea levels by 10.6 millimeters.

The study also revealed that the rate of ice loss jumped from 33 billion tonnes per year in the 1990s to 254 billion tonnes per year in the past decade. So, Greenland ice melting has increased by seven folds within the last thirty years – faster than expected.

The new figures place the planet on track towards meeting the IPCC’s high-end climate warming scenario, which predicts 7 centimeters.

What does this mean?

The Downsides of A Faster Ice Sheet Meltdown

According to the researchers, every centimeter rise in the global sea level exposes six million people across the planet to coastal flooding.

Following the current trend, the study pointed out that Greenland ice melting will result in 100 million people being flooded by the end of the century. When you consider all sea-level rise, the number increases to 400 million people.

Leader of the assessment, professor Andrew Shepherd, explained:

“These are not unlikely events or small impacts; they are happening and will be devastating for coastal communities.”

Scientists recorded the highest ice loss at 335 billion tonnes per year in 2011. That’s ten times the rate of the 1990s.  While the rate has reduced to an average of 238 billion tonnes per year since then, the figure is still seven times higher.

What’s more, it doesn’t include all of 2019, which could set a new record high thanks to the widespread summer melting.

Read More: How the 1987 Montreal Protocol Slowed Global Warming

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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