Copenhagen, Nov 10: Global warming has increased the rate at which Greenland’s glaciers are melting fivefold over the past 20 years, scientists at the University of Copenhagen said on Friday.
Melting Greenland’s ice is of particular concern because the ancient ice sheet contains enough water to raise sea levels by at least 20 feet (6 meters) if they melted completely.
Anders Anker Björk, assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Earth Sciences and Natural Resource Management, told Reuters that the rate of melting has entered a new phase in the past two decades in a study of a thousand glaciers in the area.
“There’s a very clear connection between the temperature we’re experiencing on the planet and the changes we’re seeing in how quickly the glaciers are melting,” Bjork said.
Glaciers are shrinking an average of 25 meters annually, compared with 5-6 meters two decades ago, scientists concluded after studying the growth of glaciers over 130 years through satellite images and 200,000 old photographs.
The world is already almost 1.2C (2.2F) warmer than pre-industrial temperatures, and 2023 is “certainly” the hottest in 125,000 years, scientists from the European Union said earlier this month.
Reducing temperatures will require a global effort to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, said Jørgen Eivind Olesen, director of the institute’s Climate Institute at Aarhus University.
“I believe we can prepare for the glaciers to continue to melt at an increasing rate,” Oleson said.
Glaciers in Greenland are often used to predict the effects of climate change on the Greenland ice sheet.
“If we start to see glaciers losing mass several times faster than they did over the last century, we can expect glaciers to continue on the same path at a slower and longer timescale,” says senior geologist William Colgan. Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) said.
The Greenland ice sheet contributed 17.3% of the observed rise in sea level between 2006 and 2018 and glaciers contributed 21%. Greenland has about 22,000 glaciers.
Statement by Johannes Birkeback; Editing by Barbara Lewis
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