The news continues to grow worse over global warming. The Peru meeting revealed new research showing that time is running out for humanity to act on climate change. Now to new reports indicate that we may have underestimate the rate of loss on the huge ice sheet of West Antarctica — new calculations under global warming could mean a rise in global sea levels of as much as 23 feet. That would create massive changes in the coasts of the world.
The research indicates that prior computer modeling efforts did not capture the full dynamics of what is happening with these ice sheets during global warming. The difference is immense when one considers that the Greenland ice sheet is 656,000 square miles long with an average thickness of over a mile. If that ice melts at a faster rate, it would result in costly global changes, including the loss of cities and islands.
The more complex models shows that the dimensions of the topography and melting factors should result in a much faster meltdown.
The first new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by scientists at the University at Buffalo and several other institutions, used laser altimetry to measure almost 100,000 elevation points atop the Greenland ice sheet. The result is confirmation of a much higher melting process of about .68 millimeters of annual sea level rise rather than the previously estimated .29 millimeters per year.
A second student in Nature Climate Change by Amber Leeson from the University of Leeds looked at “supraglacial lakes,” which form atop the Greenland ice sheet. These lakes suddenly vanish through “moulins,” or crevasses, that plunge to depths far below the ice sheet. The study indicates that these lakes (which hold greater heat) will become more extensive with global warming and, through draining, accelerate melting.
There of course remain those who refuse to accept the vast majority of scientific researcher and experts on the fact of climate change. However, the concern is that we are passing a redline that divides an unpleasant world from an uninhabitable one.)
The result from Lima is being heralded as an improvement in securing agreement but the details show a substantial lack of consensus, including a refusal of countries to agree on a uniform way of accounting for emissions cuts. That is a critical issue since goals are meaningless if there is not uniform measuring of cuts. It was still more productive than past meetings but scientists warn that time is of the essence as the world continues to debate the most basic elements of a system of reduction of emissions.
Source: Washington Post