‘Green­land’s ice sheet is melt­ing faster than thought’

Cyprus Today - - WORLD -

GREEN­LAND’S ice sheet is melt­ing at a faster rate than pre­vi­ously thought and con­tin­ued global warm­ing will ac­cel­er­ate thaw­ing and con­trib­ute to ris­ing sea lev­els, sci­en­tists said in a pa­per pub­lished on Wed­nes­day.

Ris­ing seas threaten low­ly­ing cities, is­lands and in­dus­tries world­wide. Fore­casts for how high and how soon the rise will come vary greatly, partly be­cause sci­en­tists lack clar­ity on how fast warm­ing oceans are melt­ing po­lar ice sheets.

Melt­ing ice in Green­land, home to the sec­ond largest mass of ice af­ter Antarc­tica, is thought to add 0.8 mil­lime­tres of wa­ter to global ocean lev­els an­nu­ally, more than any other re­gion, ac­cord­ing to Nasa.

In a pa­per pub­lished in the jour­nal Na­ture, sci­en­tists from the United States, Bel­gium and the Nether­lands an­a­lysed melt lay­ers in ice cores in west­ern Green­land to de­velop a record span­ning 350 years.

The mag­ni­tude of Green­land ice sheet melt­ing is “ex­cep­tional” over at least the last 350 years and con­tin­ued growth of global av­er­age tem­per­a­ture will ac­cel­er­ate the melt­ing and con­trib­ute to sea level rise, the study said.

Ice sheet melt­ing be­gan to in­crease soon af­ter the mid1800s. Sur­face melt­ing was the most ex­ten­sive in 2012 than any time over the past 350 years and the pe­riod of 2004-2013 had more sus­tained and in­tense melt­ing than any other 10-year pe­riod recorded.

Low-ly­ing trop­i­cal is­land states from the Mal­dives to Tu­valu view Green­land’s 3,000-me­tre thick ice sheet with fore­bod­ing since it con­tains enough ice to raise world sea lev­els by around seven me­tres if it all melted, over many cen­turies. Around 190 coun­tries are cur­rently meet­ing in Poland to work out the de­tails of the 2015 Paris Agree­ment which aims to limit tem­per­a­ture rise to be­low two de­grees Cel­sius this cen­tury.

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