Greenland melt ‘unavoidable’

Greenland’s ice sheet will almost definitely melt, irrespective of how much C02 emissions are limited, according to a new report. Based on information and models from the Meteorological Institute in Denmark, an international scientific paper has predicted that the eventual demise of the country’s ice is practically unavoidable.

Greenland will reach a point of no return as early as 2040 according to the model used by scientists. The paper, published in the Journal of Hydrometeorology this week, claimed this will happen despite any further reductions in C02 emissions.

“This is a very worrying result as it shows that melting can go a lot quicker than we normally think,” said one of the report’s co-authors, Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen.

The report, prepared in conjunction with the University of Colorado and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, found that the ice cap mass balance “was close to equilibrium during the relatively cold 1970s and 1980s and lost mass rapidly as the climate warmed in the 1990s and 2000s with no indication of deceleration”.

“It is essential to predict and assess the impact of future climate on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GRIS), which is believed to be influenced by human activities. We must establish the present and future state of the GRIS surface melt extent and surface mass balance, including freshwater flux, to detect warning signs indicative of its future response,” the report says.

The paper concludes that after 2040, it will no longer be possible for the Greenland ice sheet to be restored to its current level.

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