Glaciers in northern Greenland are melting faster than expected. The ice shelves there have lost more than a third of their volume since 1978. This could have serious consequences for sea level.
Since 1978, three ice shelves have completely collapsed, the researchers write in the scientific journal Nature Communications. According to the researchers, these did not really contribute to sea level rise, but they served as a dam for other ice.
Since those sheets are now gone, a large amount of ice could sink into the ocean. The plates that were still there began to melt faster between 2000 and 2020. During the same period, the ocean temperature near Greenland also rose.
It had long been assumed that the glaciers of northern Greenland remained stable. That has only changed in the last 20 years. There is enough ice to raise sea levels by 2.1 metres. Between 2006 and 2018, 17.3% of sea level rise is thought to be due to melting ice in northern Greenland.
The researchers expect that the rate of ice melt may increase further in the future, but it will remain at least the same as it is now, because the sea is also becoming increasingly warmer due to climate change.
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