Fwd: CC: Scientists Alarmed At Increase In Greenland's Melting Ice
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SCIENTISTS ALARMED AT INCREASE IN MELT RATE OF ICE
By Hamish Macdonell
August 4, 2004
Greenland's cover of ice is melting ten times quicker than previously
thought, an increase that could lead to floods across the world,
Newly published research shows an alarming rise in the rate of
the massive Greenland ice-sheet as a result of global warming.
now believe the ice-sheet is shrinking at the rate of ten metres a
the one metre previously thought.
If the entire ice-sheet melts, the resulting flood waters would raise
level of global seas by seven metres, submerging large areas of land,
including sea-level cities such as London.
Greenland has the biggest ice-sheet in the northern hemisphere: almost
772,000 square miles of ice which is up to 1.9 miles thick, the base
which is below sea level.
The new research was published by the Geological Survey of Greenland
Denmark, which has been monitoring the ice-sheet for several years.
from the ice-sheet crash into the sea regularly, but they have been
with increasing frequency over the past year.
The last major study of Greenland was by NASA, the US space agency,
years ago. That found that the surface of the ice was receding by one
Carl Boggild, the lead scientist, said the ice had dropped by two or
metres in just the past few months.
"There is a high melt rate due to warm winters and warm summers," he
Jonathan Gregory, of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction, at the
University of Reading, along with colleagues from Brussels and
has also found that an average annual warming in the region of 2.7C
mean that the rate of melting would outpace the annual snowfall.
The greater the warming, the faster the snow melts. The worst-case
predictions for Greenland, made by an inter-governmental panel of
scientists, now involve an average warming of 8C.
At those temperatures, oceans that have risen by 2.5mm (less than
of an inch) a year will start to rise by a steady 7mm a year.
One medium-term side-effect of the destruction of the Greenland
could be the loss of the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe warm and
The fresh water from the ice mixes with the salt water in the sea,
the salinity and changing the direction and behaviour of major
The scientists on the Greenland survey admit they have no way of
kind of timetable to a rise in water levels or forms of climate
insist that further monitoring will have to take place over the next
years to get a clearer picture. But they do admit that their findings
worrying and suggest a much more serious picture for global sea levels
had been available up until now.
It is likely to take hundreds of years for the entire ice-sheet to
as this year's survey has shown, if the speed of the destruction
that timescale could be brought forward dramatically.
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