Scientists have warned that coasts could be swamped by regular floods by the end of the century. This is because the Greenland ice sheets are melting faster than originally predicted. Calculations suggest that up to 400,000 million people could be left homeless as a result, 40 million more than that predicted by the IPCC.
Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion tonnes of ice since 1990. The figures from this latest research are similar to the IPCC’s worst case scenario.
A team of 96 polar scientists from 50 international organisations contributed to the new findings published in Nature.
Analysis indicated rise in air and ocean temperatures caused the surface ice to melt and increased glacial flow.
According to the researchers, Greenland stores enough water to raise global sea levels by six metres and knowing how much of this ice is lost is key to understanding the effects and impact of climate change.
Another report from Danish scientists was published last June, which estimated that 2019 could be the year of record high temperatures in the Arctic (2012 having been the previous high).
On June 12 2019, the day before the photograph below was taken, the closest weather station, in Qaanaaq, registered temperatures of 17.3 degrees Celsius (63.1 Fahrenheit), just 0.3 points lower than the previous record set on June 30, 2012.
“There was a dry winter and then warm air, clear skies and sun — all preconditions for an early melting,” Ruth Mottram explained. She is a climatologist at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI).
While researching oceanographic moorings and a weather station, Steffen Olsen snapped a picture of his sled dogs pushing through a fjord, the sea ice submerged under several centimetres of meltwater.
Locals who accompanied Olsen’s expedition didn’t expect the sea ice to start melting that early. They usually take that route because the ice is very thick, but they had to turn back because the water was too deep for them to advance.
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September 2020 update:
Even further bad news in that a huge chunk of Greenland’s ice cap has broken off:
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — An enormous chunk of Greenland’s ice cap has broken off in the far northeastern Arctic, a development that scientists say is evidence of rapid climate change.
The glacier section that broke off is 110 square kilometers (42.3 square miles). It came off of the fjord called Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, which is roughly 80 kilometers (50 miles) long and 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide, the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland said Monday.
The glacier is at the end of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream, where it flows off the land and into the ocean.