Global Sea Levels to Rise for about a Foot in the Wake of Greenland’s Melting Ice Sheets

Photo Credit: Michalea King

The climate crisis is now becoming more apparent as many countries across the globe suffer from weather related disasters. For instance, the ice sheets in Greenland have already started melting in the face of heat waves. If not fixed in due time, global temperatures could rise up to nearly a foot, entailing catastrophic effects to all life on earth.

Unfortunately, experts suggested that even when all countries stop emitting plant-heating mechanisms from here on out, the rise in sea levels would be inevitable. This is from a study published in the Nature Climate Change, a scientists journal that features climate-related findings.

According to the study, the melting of the Greenland ice sheets would trigger the sea levels to rise at least 10 inches. This is the same amount of water level rise caused by Antartica, Greenland, and thermal expansion over the last century.

The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland found that the meltwater runoff has been the driver of the phenomenon. The scientists further discovered that 3.3% of the ice sheets in Greenland would melt soon as they react to the changes of the surroundings. The percentage is equivalent to 110 trillion tons of ice, and if melted, which it will inevitably so says scientists, would cause the steep rise of sea levels.

“[The sea level rise from this melted ice will occur] regardless of any foreseeable future climate pathway this century. This water is technically already under the bridge,” said Jason Box, the lead author of the journal and a scientist with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.

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Authors of the journal did not indicate a specific time table for the eventual meting of the ice sheets but they estimate that the process have already started and could end at the end of the century.

“[The research was solely to estimate] a minimum, or a very conservative lower bound [of sea level rise from melting in Greenland] and in the virtually-certain event that climate continues warming, the sea level commitment only grows,” Box added.

The effect of the melting Greenland sheets

With the increase in temperatures, ice sheets as massive as that of Greenland’s could easily melt. However, the process is made faster because the temperature has also caused surrounding waters to become warm, eroding the sheet around its edges.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the US coastline could see an increase of 10 to 12 inches over the next 30 years. In effect, high tides will be more frequent, occuring more than 10 times. To add, storm surges will become higher and spread further during extreme rainfall, causing damage to property and lives.

Scientists also said tha the volume of ice in Greenland, if all melted, has the capacity to lift the sea levels by 25 feet globally. They add that the predicted sea level would not be the uniform to all regions of the world. Instead, it will be uneven, with some areas experiencing the worst.

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The climate crisis around the world

Greenland is just one of the countries feeling the effects of climate change. The drastic changes in temperatures have caused stronger monsoons, frequent typhoons, disfavorable community conditions, energy shortage, and heat-related fatalities, among others.

China’s hydropowerplants have already been affected causing energy shortage in many areas of the country. In fact, authorities in the Sichuan province have closed down facilities so it could save energy. Meanwhile, several corporations in the nearby areas already advised employees to adjust the airconditioning system of the offices to avoid energy plants to be strained from high demand.

In Pakistan, over 33 million people have already been affected, with thousands more displaced from their homes. The heavy downpour in Pakistani provinces have taken the lives of a thousand and possibly more if the rains will continue. According to weather bureaus of the country, the rains are expected to continue and deal damage to roads, infrastructure, vegetation, and more.

Much of the UK suffers from intense heat as well. France, for example, have been battling countless wildfires left and right. Over two weeks ago, the French fire bureau have already called on firefighter volunteers so they could increase manpower in the face of simultaneous wildfires occuring in several parts of the country.

Source: CNN


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Chris Watson

Chris is a freelance writer, photographer and travel enthusiast.