A new study shows that a region of Greenland so far not analyzed in depth would cause a serious rise in sea level.
Global warming is already causing numerous natural disasters, including the melting of the Greenland ice sheets. But experts on climate change are especially concerned about the southwestern region of Greenland, due to evidence from a new study.
The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has shown that the largest loss of ice from 2003 to 2013 would come from the southwest of Greenland, a region in which there are no large glaciers.
“Whatever it is, it could not be explained by the glaciers, because there are not many there,” said Michael Bevis, professor of geodynamics at Ohio State University, and author of the study.
According to the professor, “it had to be the mass of the surface, the ice was melting inland from the coast.” The researchers believe that the southwest of Greenland presents a great threat, since it will contribute in a very important way to increase sea level due to global warming.
“We knew we had a big problem with the increase in ice discharge rates by some large outgoing glaciers. But now we recognize a second serious problem: increasingly, large amounts of ice mass will go like meltwater, like rivers that flow into the sea, “Bevis explained.
This rise in sea level could have serious consequences for coastal cities, and eight of the ten largest cities on Earth are close to the coast, and between 40 and 50% of the population lives in vulnerable areas. to the rise in sea level.
In the study, GPS data from the Greenland coast were analyzed to identify changes in the ice mass. Thus, in relation to the year 2012, it was discovered that the ice was melting four times faster than in 2003, especially in the southwest of Greenland.
That is, between 2002 and 2016, Greenland lost approximately 280 gigatons of ice each year, causing an increase in sea level each year of 0.076 cm.
“What is happening is that the temperature of the sea surface in the tropics is rising; the shallow water gets hot and the air warms up. Due to climate change, the base temperature is already close to the critical temperature at which the coral discolours, so the El Niño phenomenon pushes the temperature above the critical threshold value,” Bevis reiterates in the study.
The scientist says that “global warming has brought summer temperatures in a significant part of Greenland near the melting point.”
Currently GPS systems monitor Greenland over most of its perimeter, but in the southwest many areas have not yet been analyzed.