The vast Greenland ice sheet is melting at some of its fastest rates in the past 12,000 years. And it could quadruple over the next 80 years if greenhouse gas emissions don’t decline dramatically in the coming decades.
Research published yesterday in the journal Nature warns that the ice sheet’s future losses depend heavily on how quickly humans cut carbon emissions today.
Led by Jason Briner of the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, the study is among the first to compare the possible future of the ice sheet with its ancient past.
“Now we’re really able to put into perspective just how anomalous our current change is and future changes might be,” said Josh Cuzzone, a co-author of the study and a scientist at the University of California, Irvine.
The researchers used models, informed by data from ancient ice samples drilled out from the ice sheet, to
If human societies don’t sharply curb emissions of greenhouse gases, Greenland’s rate of ice loss this century is likely to greatly outpace that of any century over the past 12,000 years, a new study concludes.
The research will be published on Sept. 30 in the journal Nature. The study employs ice sheet modeling to understand the past, present and future of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Scientists used new, detailed reconstructions of ancient climate to drive the model, and validated the model against real-world measurements of the ice sheet’s contemporary and ancient size.
The findings place the ice sheet’s modern decline in historical context, highlighting just how extreme and unusual projected losses for the 21st century could be, researchers say.
“Basically, we’ve altered our planet so much that the rates of ice sheet melt this century are on pace to be greater than anything we’ve seen under natural variability of
Ice loss from Greenland’s massive ice sheet will cause sea levels to rise more during the 21st century than they have during any 100-year period in the last 12,000 years, even if global warming is held in check, scientists said Wednesday.
The study — based on ice core data and models and published in the journal Nature — is the first to painstakingly reconstruct Greenland’s ice loss record over the entire course of the Holocene, the geological epoch that has allowed civilisation to flourish.
It found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, the kilometres-thick ice block will shed some 36 trillion tonnes of mass from 2000 to 2100, enough to lift the global ocean waterline by 10 centimetres.
Until the late 1990s, Greenland’s ice sheet was roughly in balance, gaining as much mass through snowfall as it lost in summer from crumbling glaciers and melt-off.