Greenland core probe offers insight to ice melt phenomenon

greenland-flagResearchers have released some fresh insight into the future of global warming, ice melt and rising sea levels. The clue comes via an international expedition conducted in Greenland over the last two winters, in which scientists drilled 2,500 metres below the surface of the ice to retrieve ice and snowpack dating back 130,000 years.

According to a report published in the journal Nature, the NEEM (North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling) team’s findings revealed that temperatures in Greenland during the Eemian period – a major ice melt period – were around 8°C higher than the averages seen today, although only about 25 percent of the region’s ice had melted, despite a major rise in sea levels.

Experts say the results are encouraging in that the ice melt in Greenland – which has increased alarmingly in recent years – may not have as much of an impact on sea levels as previously feared. However, the team said that the results also suggested that melting ice in Antarctica is now thought to be more likely to have a substantial impact on sea levels.

Dorthe Dahl-Jensen from the University of Copenhagen writes, “That’s bad news because, in Antarctica, several parts of the ice sheet are unstable,” the CBC reports.