The planet's second largest ice sheet is about to melt


 

A new study concluded that the Greenland Ice Sheet, the second largest plate on the planet, is approaching a point of no return with accelerated melting. Experts at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Arctic in Norway analyzed the Jakobshavn Basin in the midwestern part, one of the five largest in Greenland.


If the alarming signs occurred in this region of the entire ice sheet, resulting in its melting completely, it could eventually raise the global sea level by 23 feet (7 meters). At this point, it is not yet clear to researchers whether the ice sheet has reached a tipping point, or whether it is decades away, but it is possible that a sea-level rise of a few feet is inevitable.


Dr. Niklas Bowers, lead author, and professor at the University of Copenhagen said, we may be witnessing the beginning of widespread destabilization, but at the moment, we cannot say, unfortunately. So far, the signals we're seeing are only regional, but that may simply be due to the paucity of accurate and long-term data for other parts of the ice sheet.


In their analysis, the researchers believe that the ice sheet, which has been recorded and analyzed over the past 140 years, suffers from a decrease in the height of the ice sheet due to melting, which is then exposed to the warmer air.


The researchers warned of the possibility of a continuous loop, with greater melting due to warmer temperatures. One thing that is clear from the research is that the ice sheet is becoming more unstable.


The researchers wrote in the study summary, e showed that reactions to higher melt are likely to be responsible for the observed instability. And our results indicate significant improvement in insolubility in the near future. We are on the edge of a precipice, and every year with emissions of carbon dioxide continuing, as usual, the likelihood of exceeding the tipping point increases dramatically.


The sea-level rise will likely take between three and six feet (1-2 meters) for centuries, and that the entire ice sheet will take about 1,000 years to completely disappear. Bowers has used a variety of inputs, including melting rates since 1880, altitude changes, temperature records, and simulated modeling to conduct the research.


Bowers said more research is needed to accurately assess the entire ice sheet. The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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