Greenland ice is melting faster than scientists thought and, in fact, the rate of ice loss has quadrupled since 2003, which could accelerate sea level rise, according to research published today.
The study, which sheds new light on the effects of climate change, was published today by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, known by its initials PNAS and published weekly by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. .US.
Until now, scientists have shown concern about the disappearance of ice in southeastern and northeastern Greenland, where large glaciers are located, from which chunks of ice the size of an iceberg are detached, and then submerged in the Atlantic Ocean. melt.
Now, however, researchers have discovered that, between 2003 and 2013, most of Greenland’s ice was lost not in the southeast and northeast of the island, but in the southwest, where there are practically no glaciers.
This finding shows, according to the study, that the ice on Greenland’s surface is melting as global temperatures rise, causing rivers of melted water to flow into the ocean and, as a consequence, sea level rise.
Thus, the southwest of Greenland will probably become an important factor in the increase of the water level in the future, the scientists warn.
The research shows the dangers that could face cities like Miami and New York, on the east coast of the US, as well as Bangladesh and the coastal city of Shanghai (China) and the Pacific Islands, threatened by the increase in the level of sea as a result of the thaw.
One of the authors of the study, Michael Bevis, believes that the reduction of the ice sheet is reaching a “turning point” and that it is too late to solve the problem.
“The only thing we can do is adapt and mitigate more global warming: it’s too late for it to have no effect,” lamented Bevis, a professor of geodynamics at Ohio State University.
The research was conducted with data from NASA satellites that are dedicated to measuring the loss of ice in Greenland.
These satellites estimate that, between 2002 and 2016, the island lost enough ice to increase sea level at a rate of 0.7 millimeters per year.
In addition, according to these figures, if all the Greenland ice melted, which is up to 3 kilometers thick in some places, then the sea level would grow about seven meters, it would serve to submerge most of the cities under water. of the world.