Report: Greenland Ice Loss Hastens Sea Rise

A new study shows that ice loss in Greenland is speeding up global sea level rise, a phenomenon that weather conditions have masked in recent years.
The report finds that Greenland's ice sheet lost enough ice between 2006 and 2008 to raise sea level by three-tenths of an inch, more than a 60 percent increase over the 2000-2008 average, but snowfall and refreezing incidents have obscured many of the effects.
"Part of the meltwater did not reach the ocean and refroze inside the ice sheet. At the same time, snowfall increased,"said Michiel van den Broeke, a polar meteorologist at Utrecht University and lead author of the report. "The net result is about the same as the contribution from calving icebergs. We see here that melting can increase very, very quickly."
Van den Broeke also said warmer summers in recent years have helped hasten the ramped-up ice loss.
In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected the likely sea level rise resulting from global warming at between 7 and 23 inches by century's end, but also said an additional rise could come from rapid polar ice melt.

Published: November 19, 2009