Study Warns Greenland Glacier Melt Changes Sea Level Rise Projections

FILE – A boat sails past icebergs near the eastern Greenland town of Kulusuk on August 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, file) (Felipe Dana/)

Scientists have warned that sea levels will rise faster than previously predicted as a result of the devastating melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.. Experts also point out that this is evidence that the planet is losing its ability to regulate temperatures around the world.

On the Petermann Glacier, one of the largest in Greenland, a new study showed that increasingly warming daily tides ripped a hole more than 200 meters high. The scientists in charge of the investigation fear that this phenomenon is not limited only to that glacier and that the projections on the rise in sea level are worse than predicted.

“This is bad news,” said the study author. Eric Rignota glaciologist at the University of California Irvine, to PA.

We know that current projections are too conservative. We know that it is very difficult for them to match the current record for melting, “added the researcher of the study that was published on Monday in the US National Academy of Sciences.

With the help of satellites, scientists were able to establish the drastic changes in the glacier. The currents of warm water carved a great cavern within it and changed its shape.

FILE PHOTO: The edge of the ice sheet is shown south of Ilulissat, Greenland, September 17, 2021. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The edge of the ice sheet is shown south of Ilulissat, Greenland, on September 17, 2021. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo (HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/)

“You have this constant flow of seawater going many kilometers below the glacier and melting the ice,” Rignot said.

The research indicates that worldwide ice loss and sea level rise could increase up to twice as fast as previously thought.

According to the study, the highest melt rates were recorded in the Petermann Glacier area, which was estimated to be around 60 to 100 meters of ice melt per year.

According to Rignot, it used to be thought that daily tides were not a major cause of glacier melt, that the snow that fell on top compensated for the warm currents. However, the recent study shows otherwise.

Seawater actually goes much further under the ice to land (than previously thought), kilometers, not hundreds of meters.Rignot said.

“And that water is full of heat and is capable of vigorously melting glaciers. And it is like the most sensitive part of the glacier”. he added she.

Between 2010 and 2012, the Petermann Glacier lost about a third of its surface area when two huge chunks of ice broke off its shelf.

Greenland (Getty Images)

The research group led by Rignot found a huge hole in the glacier 204 meters high at the grounding line. This finding shows that melting increased by 50% compared to the latest measurements, which were made between 2016 and 2019.

In 2006, Rignot visited the glacier and noticed the movements of the huge body of ice that made it resemble a living being.

“When you’re standing on the glacier or sleeping on it, you hear noise all the time, loud noises coming from deep inside the crevasses,” Rignot said. “That’s where the concept of a glacier being alive starts to get to you.”, he added.

Besides, The Washington Post consulted several scientists for their opinion on the study published Monday. Most said that he is impressed by the new measurements. However, they say they still can’t be sure about the implications.

“The reported melt rates are very high, much higher than we suspected in that region,” Hélène Seroussi, a glaciologist at Dartmouth College, told The Washington Post.

Seroussi pointed out that the new study will not, for the moment, change the projection models that experts use to determine sea level rise.

We are many years away from implementing these processes correctly in numerical models.Seroussi said.

For his part, researcher Jason Box, from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, called Rignot’s technique clever and said the study makes sense, as it shows that “the supply of ocean heat to the ground lines of glaciers tidal surge represents a powerful destabilizing effect.”

Keep reading:

The devastating melting of Greenland and Antarctica accelerated in recent years

Sea level will rise by at least one meter in the next 130 years

Antarctic sea ice hit record low