The last remaining ice shelves north of Greenland, vital to sustaining the entire region, have lost a third of their volume since 1978. Global warming has raised the temperature of the water, which has been melting ice until three shelves completely collapsed, while the five that remain are deteriorating rapidlydestabilizing the nearest glaciers.
Unlike the more sensitive areas of the ice cap, which began to weaken in the mid-1980s, Greenland’s glaciers were considered stable. But an international study, led by the Scientific Research National Center (CNRS), in collaboration with researchers from the United States and Denmark, and which has just been published in Nature Communicationsconfirms that this is no longer the case.
The rate of glacial retreat during the 21st century is already twice as fast as that of the last century, according to another study just published by the universities of Northwestern and Copenhagen. They have only begun to destabilize in the last 20 years, meaning more ice has been lost than gained. The entire Danish island is losing 270 billion tons of ice a year, and it is pointed out as responsible for 17% of the rise in sea level between 2006 and 2028.
Floating platforms themselves are not responsible for sea level rise, but they play a crucial role in regulating the flow of ice from glaciers to the ocean, acting as dams. “The platforms are increasingly weaker,” is the conclusion in this study by glaciologist at the University of Grenoble Alpes, Romain Millan.
Greenland is the point on the planet most likely to raise sea levels, possibly for several centuries. And it’s not just the sea temperature, it’s also the air temperature. The Arctic is warming up to four times faster than the rest of the planetaccording to a recent study published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, looking at data from the last half century. If its glaciers melted completely, would rise by 2.1 meterswhich “could have dramatic consequences.”