Bangladesh at risk as Greenland ice melting faster: Scientists

25 January, 2019, 16:14 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Greenland melting

Scientists say if all of Greenland's vast ice sheet were to melt, global sea levels would rise by 7 meters (23 feet), flooding most coastal developments around the world.

The research provides fresh evidence of the dangers posed to vulnerable coastal places as diverse as Miami, Shanghai, Bangladesh and various Pacific islands as climate change shrinks the world's land-based ice.

According to research published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the ice loss in 2012 - more than 400 billion tonnes - reached almost four times the rate in 2003. Sea level began to rise sharply after the end of the Little Ice Age and with the onset of the industrial revolution in the 19th century. "Only a very small percentage has been lost in the last few decades, but the big worry is that the rate of ice loss in Greenland and Antarctica is accelerating, and the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating", he said.

Until now, most of Greenland's ice melt was observed on the ice cap, predominantly on the glaciers in the island's northwest and southeast.

Antarctica is becoming an increasing concern, however, with ice vanishing at its fastest rate in recorded history. More importantly, though, the warning concludes that faster sea level rise is inevitable without intervention.

According to a PTI report, scientists are concerned about the sea level rise.

"But now we recognise a second serious problem: Increasingly, large amounts of ice mass are going to leave as meltwater, as rivers that flow into the sea", Bevis said.


Study lead author Professor Michael Bevis, of The Ohio State University in the United States, said: "Whatever this was, it couldn't be explained by glaciers, because there aren't many there".

The researchers analyzed data that were obtained in the framework of the mission GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), and stated that the ice sheet of Greenland is melting faster than was thought before.

What's more, if the atmosphere continues to warm, this degree of melting will start to happen on its own, without the help of the cycle, he added.

The researchers warn that their findings could have serious implications for coastal cities in the USA, as well as island nations such as the United Kingdom which are vulnerable to rising sea levels. Now, the new study revealed that Southwestern Greenland region is also melting at a faster rate than the researchers expected.

But the rate of ice loss across the island was far from steady.

This melting is largely due to global warming which is amplifying a natural weather phenomenon, known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) - a large-scale alternation of atmospheric mass between subtropical high surface pressure, centered on the Azores, and subpolar low surface pressures, centered on Iceland.

When combined with man-made global warming, though, the effects are supercharged. Data from the satellites showed that between 2002 and 2016, Greenland lost around 280 gigatons of ice per year, equivalent to an annual sea level rise of 0.03 inches. Alarmingly, the Antarctic is also undergoing an accelerated melt down, losing six times as much ice as it was four decades ago, a January 14 study reported. "The transient warming driven by the North Atlantic Oscillation was riding on top of more sustained, global warming".

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