Global sea levels to rise drastically by 2100 due to Greenland, Antarctica's melting ice sheets

Global warming is going to show its effect more prominently by melting ice shelves in Greenland and Antarctica at an alarming rate, scientists have found in a new study. If current levels of greenhouse gas exploitation continue, the ice sheets are going to melt and add more than 38 centimetres to the global sea-level rise by the year 2100.

It is to be noted that this rise has been calculated on the basis of current greenhouse gas usage and the resultant amount is beyond the amount that has already been set in motion by Earth’s warming climate. This new study was part of the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project (ISMIP6).

The Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA image. Vast glaciers in West Antarctica seem to be locked in an irreversible thaw linked to global warming that may push up sea levels for centuries, scientists said on May 12, 2014. Six glaciers including the Thwaites Glacier, eaten away from below by a warming of sea waters around the frozen continent, were flowing fast into the Amundsen Sea, according to the report based partly on satellite radar measurements from 1992 to 2011. REUTERS/NASA/Handout via Reuters (ANTARCTICA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - GM1EA5D0E0O01

An international team of more than 60 ice, ocean and atmospheric scientists had come together to conduct the research that put data received from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland to use. Ice scientist Sophie Nowicki, who was the project leader, said, “One of the biggest uncertainties when it comes to how much sea level will rise in the future is how much the ice sheets will contribute” and “how much the ice sheets contribute is really dependent on what the climate will do.”

The ISMIP6 team studied two future scenarios regarding the predicted sea-level rise. In the time frame of 2015 to 2100, one figure was calculated by keeping high carbon emissions in mind and the other with lower emissions. In the high emissions case, the researchers found that the Greenland ice sheet would lead to an additional global sea-level rise of about 9 cm by 2100. On the other hand, in the lower-emissions scenario, the loss from the same ice sheet would raise global sea level by about 3 cm.

Calculating the Antarctic sheet was trickier as the East Antarctic ice sheet can gain mass due to global warming, as warmer temperatures cause increased snowfall. The study has been published in a special issue of the journal The Cryosphere.

Earlier, a report by the Institute for Economics and Peace had suggested that climate change and population growth could drive more than 1.2 billion people towards displacement by 2050.

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