A study on the melting ice of Greenland has just been published in the scientific magazine Nature . The results show that glaciers are melting seven times faster than 30 years ago, threatening hundreds of millions of people.
Since 1992, Greenland's icecap has lost 3.8 trillion tons of ice. From a melting of 33 billion tonnes per year in the 1990s, it has grown to 254 billion per year over the last decade, according to a study of 96 scientists specializing in polar studies and from 50 international institutions, published by the Nature magazine .
The already recorded global melting is thus sufficient to cause a rise in the sea level of 10.6 millimeters, according to these scientists who have notably relied on satellite surveys and have received support from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the US (NASA).
The IPCC estimated in 2013 that sea levels would rise by 60 centimeters by the end of the century, putting 360 million people at risk in coastal areas. The study published on Tuesday brings us closer to the "high" scenario of the warming of the UN climate panel, an extra 7 centimeters. The IPCC had itself put forward a new estimate of a billion people exposed in a new report on the oceans published in September.
Events "devastating for coastal communities"
" For every inch of global sea level rise, an additional six million people are exposed to flooding in coastal areas of the planet, " said Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds (UK), co-lead author of the study. " These are not improbable events or have limited consequences: they are happening and going to be devastating for the coastal communities ," he warned.
The study reveals that about half of the melt is above ground due to rising ambient temperatures, and the other half due to rising ocean temperatures below glaciers.
It is in 2011 that the losses culminated, with 335 billion tons. They then stabilized around 238 billion tonnes a year, a level still seven times higher than in the 1990s. " If this very high rate of ice melting continues, a point of no return could be reached faster that we thought, "warns Louise Sime, climatologist at the British Antarctic Survey.
#Greenland ice losses are tracking the worst-case global warming scenario, which predicts 5 to 12 cm more sea level rise by 2100. This is happening now and it's time to act. Political leaders who are prepared to debate #ClimateChange. Read our paper in @Nature pic.twitter.com/H8PiBztLydAndrew Shepherd (@AndyShep_CPOM) December 10, 2019