When it comes to the melting ice in Greenland, the environmental risks might occur quicker than predicted, as new studies reveal the impending dangers caused by climate change. Until recently, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based its estimation of ice loss from Greenland on the four largest of an estimated 242 major glaciers on the land mass. Now, a new study published late last month by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences will provide further climate change evidence to the UN, as researchers measured ice loss based on around 100,000 sites on the land mass.
Two separate international studies raised concern about the pace of ice melt on the world’s second largest ice sheet after Antarctica. The new study shows that from 2003-2009 243 metric gigatons of ice were lost annually, which added 0.68 millimeters of water to the oceans each year. This indicates that there is a faster sea level rise for the rest of the world; Greenland is not the only place facing environmental risks.
“This information is crucial for developing and validating numerical models that predict how the ice sheet may change and contribute to global sea level over the next few hundred years,” said study co-author Cornelis van der Veen, professor in the department of geography at the University of Kansas.
There are about 656,000 square miles of ice on Greenland, about three times the size of Texas. If all the ice melted, it would raise the world’s average sea levels about 20 feet according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Southeastern Greenland was responsible for almost half the ice loss; two of the four original glaciers used in research are from that region.