Published: Sun, March 15, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Polar ice sheets are melting six times faster than in 1990s

Polar ice sheets are melting six times faster than in 1990s

The Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter Comparison Exercise (IMBIE) used 11 different satellite missions and 26 separate surveys to recognize changes in the mass, volume, flow and gravity of the ice sheets. Melting ice caused the sea level to rise 17.9 millimeters.

A study published in November 2019 by an global team of scientists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that even if all the countries that are part of the Paris Climate Agreement hit their 2030 emissions targets, sea levels could still rise by about 3 feet by the year 2300.

Greenland has been losing an enormous amount of ice at a rate that's six times faster than the 1990s.

As a result of the study, scientists determined that Antarctica and Greenland lost 6.4 trillion tons of ice between 1992 and 2017.

Scientists from 50 worldwide organizations came together and conducted a study on the effects of climate change on Greenland and Antarctica.

Shepherd has also said that if Antarctica and Greenland will continue to track the worst-case warming scenario, it will eventually shed off an extra 17 centimetres of sea-level rise by the end of the century.

Professor Shepherd said: "Every centimetre of sea level rise leads to coastal flooding and coastal erosion, disrupting people's lives around the planet".

ExoMars-2020 mission delayed due to coronavirus
The overhauled plan sees a dispatch among August and October of 2022, with the arrival to come the year following. The virus originated in China's central Wuhan city last December, and has since spread to at least 117 countries.


However, the IMBIE teams studies shows that ice losses from Antarctica and Greenland are rising faster than expected, tracking the IPCC's worst-case climate warming scenario. This is going to put 360 million people at risk due to coastal flooding. The dreaded scenario, which predicts a total sea level rise of 23.6 inches (60 cm) by the year 2100, would put hundreds of millions of people living in coastal communities at risk of losing their homes or their lives to flooding.

Nearly all of the ice lost from Antarctica, and half of that from Greenland, has been triggered by warming ocean water speeding the movement of glaciers toward the sea. Scientists have concluded that around half of the ice lost from Greenland, and almost all of it lost from Antarctica is a direct result of the rising temperature of the ocean water, which has been caused by global warming.

The studies reported the combined rate of mass loss from both ice sheets increased six-fold to 475 billion tonnes per year over less than three decades.

Ivins also stated that computer simulations obtained from satellite images reveal climate change scenarios more strikingly.

"Our project is a great example of the importance of worldwide collaboration to tackle problems that are global in scale".

The delivery of the Imbie results was timed so they could be incorporated into the IPCC's next big assessment of the state of Earth's climate - the so-called Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) due out next year.

These other models observe more of the ice sheets when compared to other satellites because they fly by particular orbits that are very close to both the north and south poles. The data created a detailed picture of how much mass each region's glaciers have lost over the last 30 years, and showed how quickly the remaining ice is flowing into the sea. Note: material may have been edited for length and content.

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