Climate change scientists are worried about Greenland. The island is going to lose ice mass much faster in this century than ever in the last 12,000 years. This would result in drastic effects on sea levels and ocean currents.
According to a research published in the journal Nature, the current rate of melting matches the Holocene period, new measurements show the rate of melting matches any in the geological record for the Holocene period – defined as the period since the last Ice Age – and it will only accelerate.
During the Holocene, the average global surface temperature was 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit above the preindustrial rates. Depending on global emission rates, the temperature this century would be even higher.
With this, the territory will lead to a sea-level rise anywhere between 2cm to 10cm before the end of the 21st century. The study was led by Jason Briner, professor of Geology at Buffalo University.
“We have altered our planet so much that the rates of ice sheet melt this century are on pace to be greater than anything we have seen under natural variability of the ice sheet over the past 12,000 years,” he said.
Greenland ice sheet is currently about 660,000 square miles which covers 80% of the total surface on the island. In this study, the team used various simulations to analyse how various levels of greenhouse emission would affect this body of ice. The sheet had last shrunk 7-10,000 years ago but had been steadily growing over the past 4,000 years.
However, if the current rates of emissions continue, the landmass will vanish completely in the next thousand years. If the rate of emission increases, the disappearance will be four times faster.
The scientists used clues from the sheet’s past movements with the help of chemical composition analysis. These ‘rocks’ reside in moraines; these are large piles of debris near the former edge of a glacier or ice sheet. The chemical analysis helps determine when the ice was located there or when it started to retreat.
Additionally, computer simulations with customised algorithms plus satellite image records helped determine that Greenland is melting or going to melt faster than ever seen before. If swift action is not taken, we are looking at a catastrophe in making.