04/04/17

Some of Greenland’s coastal ice will be permanently lost by 2100

The glaciers and ice caps that dot the edges of the Greenland coast are not likely to recover from the melting they are experiencing now, a study has found.

Researchers report in the current issue of the journal Nature Communications that melting on the island passed a tipping point 20 years ago. The smallest glaciers and ice caps on the coast are no longer able to regrow lost ice.

The current study suggests that the melting of Greenland’s coastal ice will raise global sea level by about 1.5 inches by 2100.

The find is important because it reveals exactly why the most vulnerable parts of Greenland ice are melting so quickly: the deep snow layer that normally captures coastal meltwater was filled to capacity in 1997. That layer of snow and meltwater has since frozen solid, so that all new meltwater flows over it and out to sea.


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