New research shows that a Greenland without ice may be in the future. What if
the global emissions of greenhouse gases remain in their current trajectory,
Greenland may be without ice by the year 3000. Even at the end of the
century, the island could lose 4.5% of its ice, contributing up to 13
inches of sea level rise.
"How Greenland will look in the future – in a few hundred
years or in a thousand years – whether there will be Greenland, or at least one
Greenland is similar to today, it is up to us, "said Andy Aschwanden, a
associate professor of research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
Aschwanden is the lead author of a new study published in the June issue of Advances in science.
Researchers at the UAF Geophysical Institute, Mark Fahnestock, Martin Truffer,
Regine Hock and Constantine Khrulev are co-authors, as well as Doug
Brinkerhoff, a former UAF graduate student.
This research uses new data on the landscape under the ice today to
advance the modeling of the future. The results show a broad
range of scenarios for ice loss and sea level rise based on different
projections for concentrations of greenhouse gases and
conditions. Today, the planet is moving towards high estimates of
concentrations of greenhouse gases.
The Greenland ice sheet is huge, covering more than 660,000 square miles.
It is almost the size of Alaska and 80% the size of the eastern US.
Mississippi River. Today, the ice sheet covers 81% of Greenland and
contains 8% fresh water from Earth.
If concentrations of greenhouse gases remain in the current path, the
Greenland ice melting alone could contribute as much as 24 feet to
increase of global sea level by the year 3000, which would put much of San
Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans and other cities under water.
However, if greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced,
changes. Instead, in 3000 Greenland can lose 8% to 25% ice
and contribute up to approximately 6.5 feet of sea level rise. In between
1991 and 2015, the Greenland ice sheet added about 0.02 inches per
year to sea level but could increase rapidly.
Projections for the end of the century and 2200 say that
story: There is a wide range of possibilities including saving the ice
leaf, but everything depends on greenhouse gas emissions.
The researchers performed 500 simulations for each of the three
scenarios using the Parallel Ice Model, developed in the
Geophysical Institute, to create an image of how the Greenland ice
different climatic scenarios. The model included parameters in
oceanic and atmospheric conditions, as well as ice geometry, flow and
Simulating the behavior of ice sheets is difficult because the loss of ice is
by the retreat of the exit glaciers. These glaciers, on the fringes of the ice
leaves, drain the ice from the interior like rivers, often in gutters
hidden under the ice itself.
This study is the first model to include these exit glaciers. this
concluded that their discharge could contribute up to 45% of the total
Mass of ice lost in Greenland until 2200.
The exit glaciers are in contact with the water and the water causes the ice to melt
faster than contact with the air, such as thawing a chicken in the sink. O
The more ice touches the water, the faster it melts. This creates feedback
loop that drastically affects the ice sheet.
However, to simulate how ice flows, scientists need to know the thickness of the ice.
The team used data from a NASA airborne science campaign called
Operation IceBridge. The IceBridge operation uses aircraft equipped with
complete set of scientific instruments, including three types of radar
which can measure the surface of the ice, the individual layers inside the ice
and penetrate the rocky bed to collect data on the land under
ice. On average, the Greenland ice sheet is 1.6 miles thick, but there is a
Lots of variation depending on where you measure.
"The ice is in very remote places," Fahnestock said. "You can go
there and make localized measurements. But the vision of space and
view of aerial campaigns, such as IceBridge, has only fundamentally
has transformed our ability to make a model to imitate these changes. "
As the results of previous research did not have these details, scientists
it was not possible to simulate current conditions accurately, which
more difficult to predict what will happen in the future.
"If it's raining in DC today, your best guess is that it's raining
tomorrow too, "Aschwanden said. "If you do not know what time is
today, you're guessing. "
However, this does not mean that researchers know exactly what will happen.
"What we know of the last two decades of just watching Greenland
it's not because we were geniuses and we discovered, but because we just
I saw this happen, "said Fahnestock. As for what we will see in the future,
"It depends on what we're going to do next."
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