The seas are coming: Global sea levels to rise earlier than predicted

The seas are coming: Global sea levels to rise earlier than predicted

Global sea levels are expected to rise faster than anticipated

As world leaders congregate in the resort city of Sharm-El-Sheikh for COP27, a new report indicates the consequences of climate change will hit the planet earlier than the climate models predict. Global sea levels are expected to rise faster than anticipated as thinning of ice in the Greenland basin is pumping water into the seas.

Researchers found that the melting of Greenland’s largest basin could contribute up to six times more to global sea-level rise by 2100 than climate models currently project. The Northeast Greenland Ice Stream, known as NEGIS, could add a half-inch or more of water to sea levels by the end of this century.

The latest study indicates that the amount of water level added by the ice stream by the end of the century is equivalent to the entire Greenland ice sheet’s contribution during the past 50 years. The findings of the study have been published in the journal Nature, which indicates the rising threat to coastal cities across the world.

“Many glaciers have been accelerating and thinning near the margin in recent decades”. GPS data helped us detect how far inland these changes happening near the coast propagate,” Morlighem, the Evans Family Distinguished Professor of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth.

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Researchers combined satellite data and numerical modeling with GPS data collected from the harsh interior of Greenland over the past decade. The team found that the intrusion of warm ocean currents caused the floating extension of the NEGIS to collapse, which accelerated ice flow and triggered a wave of rapid ice thinning that spread upstream. The thinning of the ice sheet stretches over 300 kilometers from the Greenland coast.

Researchers speculate that this is not an isolated event and that other glaciers on Greenland may be suffering the same fate. “The Greenland ice sheet is not necessarily more unstable than we thought, but it may be more sensitive to changes happening around the coast. If this is correct, the contribution of ice dynamics to overall mass loss on Greenland will be larger than what current models suggest,” Morlighem added.

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