Climate change and the effects of global warming will produce between 19 and 63 inches of sea level rise around the globe. Climate scientists at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks fear these effects will become evident over the next 200 years. And if greenhouse gas emissions remain unopposed and global temperatures continue to rise, Greenland’s ice will melt at higher rates than initially expected. The climate forecasts are now up to 80 percent higher than previous estimates of 35 inches of sea level rise from Greenland ice melt.
And to further stress the criticality of the situation, scientists have warned all of the ice on Greenland threatens to be gone a thousand years from now.
Andy Aschwanden, a research associate professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said: “How Greenland will look in the future – in a couple of hundred years or in 1,000 years – whether there will be Greenland, or at least a Greenland similar to today, it’s up to us.”
The dire climate forecasts were presented in a study published in the June issues of the journal Science Advances.
Using data collected by NASA’s Operation IceBridge airborne mission, scientists projected Greenland’s ice melt up to the year 3000.
Based on 500 computer models of three different climate forecasts, the researchers were able to predict the rate of ice melt.
The three different climate scenarios were all dependant on the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
In the event nothing is done to reduce the impact of man-made greenhouse emissions, the Greenland ice sheet will melt by the end of the millennium.
And when this happens, the amount of water released by the icy landmass will cause sea levels to rise by 17ft to 23ft.
This will place much of Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans under water.
US space agency NASA said: “In the scenario where emissions are stabilised by the end of the century rather than continue to increase, the model shows ice loss falling to 26 to 57 percent of total mass by 3000.
“Drastically limiting emissions so they begin to decline by the end of the century could limit ice loss to eight to 25 percent.
“This scenario would produce up to six feet of sea level rise in the next millennium, according to the study.”
Scientists believe these updated climate models better represent the flow of water from outlet glaciers and into the oceans.
NASA said the outlet glaciers play a key role in how ice sheets melt and their melt can contribute to 40 percent of the total ice loss in the next 200 years.
Between 1991 and 2015, Greenland’s melting ice has annually contributed around 0.02 inches to rising sea levels.
Mark Fahnestock, who took part in the study, said: “What we know from the last two decades of just watching Greenland is not because we were geniuses and figured it out, but because we just saw it happen.”