Greenland’s ice sheet melting seven times faster than in 1990s
Scale and speed of loss much higher than predicted, threatening inundation for hundreds of millions of people
By Fiona Harvey
Greenland’s ice sheet is melting much faster than previously thought, threatening hundreds of millions of people with inundation and bringing some of the irreversible impacts of the climate emergency much closer.
Ice is being lost from Greenland seven times faster than it was in the 1990s, and the scale and speed of ice loss is much higher than was predicted in the comprehensive studies of global climate science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to data.
That means sea level rises are likely to reach 67cm by 2100, about 7cm more than the IPCC’s main prediction. Such a rate of rise will put 400 million people at risk of flooding every year, instead of the 360 million predicted by the IPCC, by the end of the century.
Sea level rises also add to the risk of storm surges, when the fiercer storms made more likely by global heating batter coastal regions. These impacts are likely to strike coastal areas all around the world.
“These are not unlikely events or small impacts,” said Andrew Shepherd, professor of earth observation at the University of Leeds, one of the lead authors of the study. “[These impacts] are happening and will be devastating for coastal communities.”