Greenland faces an unprecedented century of ice loss


Put it on the floor.

Put it on the floor.
Photo: Sean gallop (Getty Images)

Hey, we haven’t checked on Greenland in a while, let’s see if ham … oh. Oh no.

New research Published on Wednesday Nature has shown that Greenland’s ice sheet is already pushing the limits of large-scale damage over the last 12,000 years. Even under the best-case climate scenario, where humanity rapidly reduces emissions starting with ASAP, the ice sheet is poised to cause damage at unprecedented levels over the course of the century.

In recent years the Greenland ice sheet has actually been defeated. Wildfire smoke, dust, heat waves, and Even sunny skies All have largely contributed to the annual recession. It is losing ice at an accelerated rate, and the new study adds to those year-over-year losses and puts them in terms of both past and future. To do this, the researchers used computer simulations of the past and then compared them to ice core samples and other data based on geology around Greenland. Those geologic and ice core proxies allowed researchers to reconstruct the growth and loss of ice over the past 12,000 years for an area in western Greenland that reflected the rest of the ice sheet. The time frame is important, as it represents the end of the Ice Age and a period known as the Holocene.

During that time, natural fluctuations in the climate have affected the ice sheet, including a large period of damage around 8,000 years ago, when an estimated 6,000 gigatons of ice melted into the ocean each century. This is 6 trillion tons of ice, which I can try to find a comparison for, but let’s just call it a burden of ice. Since then, there have been very few disturbances in the ice sheet. That is till now.

Humans have started to suppress that system by pumping carbon pollution into the atmosphere. The planet has warmed to about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) since the late 19th century, but warming has become more intense in recent decades. This is why there are all kinds of problems, including a more rapid decline in Greenland’s ice sheet. The new findings suggest that if the rate of damage remained throughout this century in the last two decades, Greenland would be shedding 6,100 gigatons of snow, or a slightly higher amount.

An infographic showing how fast the Greenland ice sheet has changed under humans.

An infographic showing how fast the Greenland ice sheet has changed under humans.
Graphic: Bob Wilder / University at Buffalo

Unfortunately, there are other plans for climate change. Future modeling of the study suggests that a highly optimistic climate scenario, where the world just begins to reduce emissions and reduce them to zero by the end of the century, will still melt a minimum of 8,800 gigatons of ice in this century. If the world goes wild and continues to burn carbon, leaving this century careless, the sea could end up with up to 35,900 gigatons (about 6 donkeys) of ice. In Happily titled comment With the piece, “The worst is yet to come for the Greenland Ice Sheet,” said ice researcher Andy Ashwandon of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, adding that “certainly we are experiencing unprecedented rates of ice loss in Greenland.” Huh.”

It also has major implications for coastal communities as well as ecosystems. Melting ice sheets accounted for about 30% of all sea level rise, and its contribution is set to increase this century on top of increasingly volatile ice in Antarctica. The findings suggest that actions to curb emissions will require countries to adapt to a world with high seas, regardless of humanity. This may mean outside construction Natural or man-made flood rescue or Retreat from shore Altogether.

At the same time, all the ice melting from Greenland is leading to a pocket of cold, fresh water away from the coast. This is slowing down the current that runs the east coast and runs to the other side of the Atlantic. How it affects the ecosystem there as well as the spread of the ocean to other places is still an area Active but rational research. Scientists will also continue to investigate the fate of the ice sheet under different emission scenarios, and I just want to point out that world leaders must work to ensure that we examine our work on the high end Do not get a chance One.

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