Greenland’s Shrinking Ice Sheets

One of the biggest uncertainties right now when it comes to rising global sea levels is how much the melting ice sheets will contribute to it. Obviously, this scenario is very much dependent on what the climate situation will be like in the near future.

And at the focal point of this ever-conflicting universal topic is the ice sheets located in Greenland.

The Two Shrinking Ice Sheets Scenario

With the increasingly warm air temperatures melting the surface of the ice sheet, coupled with the warming ocean temperatures causing the glaciers to retreat, it’s looking more and more apparent that Greenland’s shrinking ice sheets will be a major contributor to rising sea-levels in the future.

Specifically, researchers have investigated two possibilities for the future climate to predict the rise in sea-levels between 2015 and 2100: One outcome entails carbon emissions rapidly increasing, while the other has fixed lower emissions.

In the future with high emissions, it was found that the Greenland ice sheet would further contribute to a global rise of about 3.5 inches (9 cm) by 2100. Whereas, the lower emissions scenario resulted in a rise of about 1.3 inches (3 cm) due to the loss from the ice sheet.

What this means, essentially, is that the prediction is already beyond what was estimated between pre-industrial times and now — previous studies have estimated that contributions towards the global sea-levels would only be about a quarter of an inch (6 mm) for the Greenland ice sheet by 2100.

Certainly, a grim future is coming if we’re not willing to change the ways of the present.

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Author: Lucy Dixon