Scientists are worried that ice from Greenland melting faster than predicted; raises alarm on ocean levels

Photo Credit: theguardian.com

As if the world did not have enough problems, recent studies of scientists are raising concerns that the icesheet from Greenland is melting faster than predicted. This will heavily effect the rise of oceans in the world.

From the years 2003 – 2009, the ice sheet in Greenland would predictably shed approximately 243 gigatonnes of ice annually. This is equivalent to about 277 cubic kilometers of ice. This amount can raise ocean levels by about 0.68 millimeters per year.

A new study from the Buffalo University scientists is suggesting that the Greenland region could lose ice faster than they thought. The current ice sheet models in possession are too simple and cannot accurately predict anymore what the future has in store for the massive Greenland ice sheet.

The ice sheet is the second largest body of ice in the world and if it all melts, oceans all over the world could rise by 20 feet.

The scientists from Buffalo used high spatial resolution to have new predictions on the rate of ice loss in Greenalnd. The project is headed by geophycisist Beata Csatho, PhD, an associate professor at the University.

They used a NASA satellite and aerial data to reconstruct how the ice sheet has evolved throughout time at different locations from the period 1993-2012. Csatho’s team identified that the southeastern areas of Greenland are rapidly shrinking.

“There are 242 outlet glaciers wider than 1.5 km on the Greenland Ice Sheet, and what we see is that their behavior is complex in space and time,” Csatho says.

Interestingly enough, they discovered that every area of glacier in Greenland responds differently to the warming of the Earth. Some are quite erratic, thinning at one point and then suddenly thickening at another.

“Understanding the groupings will help us pick out examples of glaciers that are representative of the whole. We can then use data from these representative glaciers in models to provide a more complete picture of what is happening,” Csatho said.

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