Greenland is ceasing to be that vast white territory because it is losing ice at a speed seven times faster than in 1990.
The fatal scenario goes according to the context of global warming of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which would expose 400 million people to coastal flooding in the year 2100.
A joint work of 96 scientists from 50 international organizations has generated the most detailed image so far of the ice loss from Greenland.
The team called Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) used 26 surveys to calculate changes in the Greenland ice sheet mass between 1992 and 2018.
The worst case scenario
The research results show that Greenland has lost so far 3.8 billion tons of ice, since 1992. This thaw is enough to raise the sea level by 10.6 millimeters.
The figures are alarming as they show a seven-fold increase in ice loss in just three decades.
In 2013, the IPCC predicted that worldwide sea level would rise 60 centimeters by 2100, leaving 360 million people at risk due to coastal flooding. However, the new study shows that the ice loss is increasing faster than expected, which would generate an increase of even 7 centimeters more at sea level.
As a general rule, for every one-centimeter increase in global sea level, another six million people are exposed to coastal flooding across the planet.
According to current trends, the melting of ice in Greenland will cause 100 million people to flood each year at the end of the century, which adds up to 400 million in total due to all the sea level rise. These are not unlikely events or small impacts; they are happening and will be devastating for coastal communities. ”
Caused by warming
The climate models regionals used by the team of researchers showed that half of the ice loss was due to rising air temperatures. The other half was caused by the rising ocean temperature.
The doctor. Erik Ivins of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA and lead author of the study said in a statement:
Polar ice satellite observations are essential to monitor and predict how the climate change could affect ice losses and sea level rise. While computer simulation allows us to make projections from climate change scenarios, satellite measurements provide irrefutable evidence. ”
The team expects to continue monitoring the ice reduction in Greenland to determine the possible sea surge each year.
The research findings have been published in the journal. Nature.