Greenland ice losses set to boost world sea ranges by almost a foot, new analysis reveals

The research, printed Monday within the journal Nature Local weather Change, discovered that the general ice loss from Greenland’s ice sheet will set off at the very least 10 inches of sea stage rise, regardless of the local weather warming situations. That is typically the identical quantity that world seas have already risen during the last century from Greenland, Antarctica and thermal growth (when ocean water expands because it warms) mixed.

Researchers from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland noticed modifications in ice-sheet quantity in and round Greenland and noticed that meltwater runoff has been the first driver. Utilizing “well-established concept,” the scientists had been capable of decide that round 3.3% of the Greenland ice sheet — equal to 110 trillion tons of ice — will inevitably soften because the ice sheet reacts to the modifications which have already occurred.

The ocean stage rise from this melted ice will happen “no matter any foreseeable future local weather pathway this century,” in keeping with lead writer Jason Field, a scientist with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. “This water is technically already below the bridge.”

Whereas the authors didn’t specify a timeline, they predict that the change in sea ranges can happen between now and the tip of the century.

The analysis was solely to estimate a minimal, or “a really conservative decrease certain,” of sea stage rise from melting in Greenland, “and within the virtually-certain occasion that local weather continues warming, the ocean stage dedication solely grows,” Field stated.

Huge ice sheets can soften quickly when the air temperature is heat, however hotter ocean water can be eroding the sheet across the edges.

The findings come on the heels of a 2022 sea-level rise report launched final yr by the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which discovered that US coasts may count on 10 to 12 inches of sea stage rise within the subsequent 30 years. It will trigger excessive tide floods to happen greater than 10 occasions as often, and permit storm surges to unfold additional inland, in keeping with the report.

Greenland holds sufficient ice that if all of it melted, it may raise sea ranges by roughly 25 toes world wide. Researchers level out {that a} sea stage rise of 20 toes does not imply it’ll rise evenly across the globe, leaving some locations devastated as the ocean stage falls in others.

As locations similar to Greenland lose ice, for instance, in addition they lose the ice’s gravitational pull on water, that means Greenland’s sea stage is falling as the extent rises elsewhere, stated William Colgan, senior researcher on the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. The speed of that change is the issue, Colgan instructed CNN’s Invoice Weir throughout a analysis journey in the summertime of 2021.

“It will be actually exhausting to adapt to alter that quick,” Colgan stated, standing at Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier, the place the fjord is stuffed with ice that has damaged off from the glacier.

Earlier than human-caused local weather change kicked in, temperatures close to 32 levels Fahrenheit in Greenland had been unparalleled. However because the Eighties, the area has warmed by round 1.5 levels per decade — 4 occasions quicker than the worldwide tempo — making it all of the extra doubtless that temperatures will cross the melting threshold.

A number of days of unusually heat climate in northern Greenland just lately triggered fast melting, with temperatures round 60 levels — 10 levels hotter than regular for this time of yr, scientists instructed CNN.

The quantity of ice that melted in Greenland between July 15 and 17 alone — 6 billion tons of water per day — could be sufficient to fill 7.2 million Olympic-sized swimming swimming pools, in keeping with information from the US Nationwide Snow and Ice Knowledge Middle.

World scientists have stated the tendencies at which local weather change is accelerating are fairly clear, and that until emissions are curbed instantly, many extra excessive melting occasions will proceed to happen extra intensely and often.

CNN’s René Marsh and Angela Fritz contributed to this report.