The rapid increase in the melting of ice sheets will lead in sea level rise according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on 21 January 2019.
Greenland’s huge ice sheet is melting at an alarming rate. Ice sheet is a mass of glacial ice that covers surrounding terrain. Ice sheets are found in Antarctica and Greenland.
Greenland is the world’s largest island. It lies between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. Greenland consists of 80% of ice of the total land surface.
According to the study, scientists worry that changes are driven in the air temperature and solar radiation might lead to southwest Greenland becoming a future major contributor to sea level rise.
The oceans are warming at a much faster rate than expected. The Greenland Ice sheet contributes 7.4 meters of global sea-level rise. This makes it a matter of high concern.
The Global positioning system (GPS) and Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) observations reveal that the spatial patterns of the existing increase in speed and the obsolete decrease in speed in mass loss are similar.
GRACE is a twin satellite that takes an in-depth measurement of the earth’s gravity field anomalies. GRACE satellite is an important tool for studying earth’s climate, ocean and geology.
As the earth is getting warm day by day due to global warming, the melting glaciers are flowing to the ocean. As per the studies, done by GRACE, the satellites monitored ice loss and mass changes from variations measured in space.
Michael Bevis, lead author of the paper, Ohio Eminent Scholar and a professor of geodynamics at The Ohio State University said, “We knew we had one big problem with increasing rates of ice discharge by some large outlet glaciers."
Bevis also said, "But now we recognize a second serious problem: Increasingly, large amounts of ice mass are going to leave as meltwater, as rivers that flow into the sea."
According to Bevis, "The only thing we can do is adapt and mitigate further global warming - it's too late for there to be no effect."
Bevis calls the ice sheet melting a “tipping point."
In the year 2003 to mid-2013, the total mass of ice in Greenland decreased at a progressively increasing rate. In the next 12-18 months, a reverse cycle followed resulting in a very little net loss.
This break in the melting of ice sheets and bringing warm air is a weather phenomenon known as North Atlantic Oscillation(NAO). The negative phase of NAO is when there is warm air flowing resulting in less snowfall, especially in west Greenland.
At the rate with which these ice sheets are melting is a serious cause of concern. It is affecting the environment at a scale which is upsetting. Serious amends need to be made to control the already done damage.