The Greenland ice sheet is all but doomed to melt away to nothing, according to a new modelling study. If it does melt, global sea levels will rise by seven metres, flooding most of the world’s coastal regions.
Jonathan Gregory, a climatologist at the University of Reading, UK, says global warming could start runaway melting on Greenland within 50 years, and it will “probably be irreversible this side of a new ice age”
As the world warms, Greenland’s dwindling glaciers may actually slow in their retreat, according to new research.
Greenland is covered in an ice sheet big enough to raise the planet’s sea level by 6.6 meters (21.5 feet) were it to ever melt. Even as the world warms, though, most of the ice remains safe in the island’s cold interior, for now.
But since the year 2000 scientists have watched with alarm as its edges — huge glaciers that stream down out of the mountains and onto the surface of deep fjords — have been sliding into the ocean at ever-increasing rates.
Now new research by Andreas Vieli of Durham University in the United Kingdom and a team of scientists suggests a strange paradox: As the planet heats up through the middle of the 21st century, many of the glaciers may break up more slowly.
The team’s conclusion stems from running computer simulations of Helheim glacier, a massive tongue of ice spilling onto the sea in East Greenland.
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