Greenland Ice Melting at Faster Rate, Increasing Sea Level Rise

November 13, 2009

A new study, published in the journal Science, concludes that the massive Greenland ice sheets are losing mass more rapidly than previous studies had indicated.

The ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica contain the bulk of the planet’s frozen water. If all of the ice in Greenland melted, scientists have calculated that it would raise sea levels by as much as 23 feet (over 7 meters).

This most recent study examined the rate of melting ice, both on the surface and far beneath it, as well as the acceleration of masses of ice, which fall into the sea. From 2006 to 2008 enough ice returned to the seas to raise their level by 0.75 millimeters (approximately 0.03 inches).

While that’s not a great deal, it is strong evidence that the pace at which Greenland’s ice is melting has been accelerating and that it will in all likelihood continue to do so.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (, released in 2007, warned of a possible rise in sea levels during this century of between 28 and 43 cms (app. 9 to 17 inches), but newer analysis, including this latest report, indicate that sea level rise could be much greater.

Source: news reports

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