An Inevitable Waterworld
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Greenland’s widespread ice loss will add 10 inches to global sea levels, according to a new study, a rise that can’t be stopped even if fossil-fuel burning came to an immediate end, CNN reported.
Researchers from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland observed the changes in ice-sheet volume in and around Greenland and concluded that meltwater runoff is the primary cause.
This ice, also known as zombie ice, is still attached to thicker areas of Greenland sheet ice but is no longer fed by larger glaciers. Warm air temperatures rapidly contribute to this runoff along with warmer ocean waters eroding the edges of the sheet ice.
Scientists predict that about 3.3 percent of Greenland’s sheet ice – equivalent to 110 trillion tons of ice – will certainly melt. Past studies warned that the accelerating trends in climate change will result in more intense, frequent and extreme melting events if no action is taken.
While there is no specific timeline, scientists from the Survey estimate it will likely occur between now and the end of the century, the Guardian added.
The findings follow another report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which found that US coasts could expect 10 to 12 inches of sea level rise in the next 30 years.
Northern Greenland’s temperature was recently marked at 60 degrees Fahrenheit, 10 degrees warmer than usual around this time of the year. Between July 15 and 17, Greenland added six billion tons of water per day to sea levels.
The Danish territory has enough ice that if it all melted it would increase sea levels by nearly 25 feet globally. Scientists, however, warned that this change in level is not equal, with some areas experiencing a fall in sea levels.
Billions of people live in coastal regions, which makes flooding due to rising sea levels one of the greatest long-term impacts of the climate crisis.