The Greenland ice sheet On track to lose hundreds of trillions of metric tons of ice and contribute nearly a foot to average global sea level rise through 2100, no matter how much greenhouse gas emissions are cut during that period, glaciologists report in a new study published Monday. .
why does it matter: The study suggests that human-caused global warming driven by greenhouse gas emissions has actually constrained a certain amount of sea level rise from melting Greenland’s ice sheet.
- With the sea level rise seen so far, coastal flooding events are becoming more common in cities like Miami and Charleston, and future storms are expected to be affected. It has more devastating storms.
In numbers: The researchers estimated that the ice sheet would lose about 3.3% of its total volume during this century, which equates to 110 trillion metric tons of ice and an average global sea level rise of at least 270 mm, or 10.6 inches.
- For comparison, this amount of ice loss could cover the entire United States with 37 feet of water, the study published in Nature Climate Change found.
our thought bubble, Via Andrew Friedman from Axios: This study is important because it is based on observations during the two decades of studying Greenland, rather than just computer modeling.
- In addition, the results show how difficult it is to apply brakes when the snow melts even if emissions are now completely stopped.
what are they saying: Jason Books, lead author of the study and professor at the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), said the study actually provides low estimates of the future of the Greenland ice sheet, in which the world will not immediately stop burning fossil fuels.
- “It’s a very conservative low. Realistically, we’ll see that number more than double this century,” Box said in a statement Monday.
- “In the foreseeable scenario that global warming will only continue, the contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea level rise will continue to increase,” he added.
- “When we take the year of extreme melt 2012 and consider it a hypothetical average for a steady climate later in the century, the committed mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet doubles to 78 cm,” or more than 30 inches by the year 2100.
Yes, but: The study also estimated average sea-level rise due to ice melt from the Greenland Ice Sheet and didn’t take into account how melting Antarctica or other glaciers around the world might contribute as well.