Can’t Stop Rising Sea Level
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Can’t Stop Rising Sea Level

The Washington Post reports that the melting ice sheet in Greenland, which would raise sea-level by about a foot, cannot be stopped, even if the world stopped emitting greenhouse gases today.

The findings in Nature Climate Change project that it is now inevitable that 3.3 percent of the Greenland ice sheet will melt — equal to 110 trilliontons of ice,the researchers said. That will trigger nearly a foot of global sea-level rise....

The paper’s lead author, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland scientist Jason Box, collaborated with scientists based at institutions in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Statesto assess the extent of ice loss already locked in by human activity....

Melt rates have been increasing in the past two decades, and Greenland is the largest single ice-based contributor to the rate of global sea-level rise, surpassing contributions from both the larger Antarctic ice sheet and from mountain glaciers around the world. Greenland lies in the Arctic, which is warming muchfaster than the rest of the world....

The new research “obtains numbers that are high compared to other studies,” said Sophie Nowicki, an expert on Greenland at the University at Buffalo who contributed to the IPCC report. Nowicki observed, however, that one reason the number is so high is that the study considers only the last 20 years — which have seen strong warming — as the current climate to which the ice sheet is now adjusting. Taking a 40-year period would yield a lower result, Nowicki said.

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