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Greenland ice sheet melt will raise sea levels by 27 centimetres, new study says

WION logo WION 30-08-2022 (Wion Web Team)
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A study published on Monday says that Greenland’s rapidly melting ice sheet will raise global sea level by around a foot, even if the greenhouse gas emissions, a leading cause of climate change, end overnight. The ice sheet will lose about 3.3% of its total volume by 2100, which is a whopping 110 trillion metric tons of ice, raising the sea levels by 27 centimetres. That is more than twice as much as previously forecast, the study says. 

Professor Jason Box from the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (Geus), who led the research, says, “It is a very conservative rock-bottom minimum. Realistically, we will see this figure more than double within this century.”

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The study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change and says that continued carbon emissions, the melting of other ice caps and thermal expansion of the ocean create an inevitable scenario of a multi-metre sea-level rise. Last year, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report had projected a range of two to five inches (6 to 13 centimeters) of a rise in sea level rise from Greenland ice melt by the year 2100.

While previous studies have used computer models to understand ice cap behaviour, the latest study used satellite measurements of ice losses from Greenland and the shape of the ice cap from 2000-19. The scientists studied ice in balance in terms of how much snowfall is happening and how much ice is melting. In perfect conditions, snowfall thickens the sides of the glaciers and balance out what is melting from the edges.

However, the problem now is that not enough replenishment is happening while more ice is melting, thus creating an imbalance. 

Billions of people live in coastal regions and are at risk of flooding due to rising sea levels. If Greenland’s record melt year of 2012 becomes a routine occurrence later this century, then the ice cap will deliver a “staggering” 78 centimetre of sea-level rise, the scientists said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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