Greenland which is home to the second largest permanent ice sheet has lost ice at a very alarming rate in the past decades. The loss has increased almost six times which can lead to a rise in the sea level as suggested by a research on almost fifty years of data.
The report has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It makes an estimate on the loss of ice in Greenland. The figures tell that there has been a loss of 51 billions tons of ice from 1980 to 1990. But this figure has seen a tremendous increase to 286 billion only between 2010 and 2018. Out of the 14 millimetres of rise of sea level which has occurred in Greenland since 1972, half of it has occurred only in the last eight years.
Scientists predict that the worst is yet to come. The areas with the most potential for ice loss, far northwest and northeast of Greenland, which borders the Arctic Ocean have not seen a change like the other areas. If the melting of ice occurs here at a rapid pace, it will lead to the overall loss of ice from Greenland as well as the rise of sea level.
Eric Rignot, a researcher at University of California and NASA remarked that the 1980’s was the time when climate of Earth started to alter in a major way from the natural course due to the emission of greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere. The melting of ice glaciers in Greenland is a major source of concern when combined with similar loss in Antarctica. The region of Antarctica has also lost ice six times faster than forty years ago, which has been never observed in measurements in the modern era.
West Antarctica has been already affected to a great extent and in addition to that some portions of East Antarctica are also showing ice loss at a major rate. Greenland is home to 200 major glaciers, most of which extend to the ocean rising from thick ice sheets. They flow in the outward direction in narrow submerged canyons.
Most of the ice loss occurs in a steady manner such as in streams of the surface of the ice sheet and also undersea flows. Since Greenland lies in the Arctic Zone which has been warmed by more than two degrees Celsius, there ice loss has increased at a high pace.
There has a rapid change since the last thirty years and humanity has to be ready to face the consequences and we should take actions for preventing the dangerous scenarios.