(Image source: Science / NPR)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS


Two alarming new studies were released Thursday saying sea level rise has been seriously underestimated.

“It’s perhaps the scariest warning: that the two biggest ice sheets on earth, Greenland and Antarctica, could melt so rapidly that sea levels could rise dramatically and lead to disastrous flooding.” (Video via ITV News)

The research was conducted using satellite mapping, which measured changing thickness in the two ice sheets over a 20-year period. The studies showed rapid ice loss in Greenland and some in Antarctica. (Video via IMBIE / YouTube)

The research suggests the UN climate change panel’s estimate for sea level rise is way off. The panel predicted a rise of two millimeters per year, but the actual rise has been about 3.2 millimeters, all due to the two ice sheets.

“The melting accounts for 20 percent of sea level rise in the past two decades ... adding 11 millimeters. It doesn’t sound like much until you consider it’s like pouring in more than 26 Lake Tahoes.” (Video via NBC News)

The extra 11 millimeters isn’t a drastic change yet, but the lead researcher tells the BBC what’s really troubling is that the melting is speeding up. (Video via CNN)

“Sometimes the ice sheets grow and sometimes they shrink. We need to measure them over 20 years to be able to see the true story. And the true story is that the ice losses have increased.”

The research also helped settle a debate. It was thought warmer oceans might increase snowfall in Antarctica, which could offset the melting.

Nature reports that did turn out to be the case, but the snowfall wasn’t enough to totally compensate. Overall, Antarctica is melting, even if it’s slower than Greenland.

Altogether, the ice sheet melt accounted for about a third of the total sea level rise. Much of the rest comes from the oceans expanding as they become warmer. A writer for National Geographic reminds us what’s at stake.

“Environmental damage may include widespread erosion, contamination of aquifers and crops, and harm to marine life. And in the long term, rising seas may force hundreds of millions of people who live along the coast to abandon their homes.”

Experts’ latest estimates say sea levels could rise three feet by the end of this century — and that level or rise would mean Hurricane Sandy-scale flooding roughly every three years.

Sea Level Rise From Melting Ice Sheets Speeding Up

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Nov 29, 2012

Sea Level Rise From Melting Ice Sheets Speeding Up

 

(Image source: Science / NPR)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS


Two alarming new studies were released Thursday saying sea level rise has been seriously underestimated.

“It’s perhaps the scariest warning: that the two biggest ice sheets on earth, Greenland and Antarctica, could melt so rapidly that sea levels could rise dramatically and lead to disastrous flooding.” (Video via ITV News)

The research was conducted using satellite mapping, which measured changing thickness in the two ice sheets over a 20-year period. The studies showed rapid ice loss in Greenland and some in Antarctica. (Video via IMBIE / YouTube)

The research suggests the UN climate change panel’s estimate for sea level rise is way off. The panel predicted a rise of two millimeters per year, but the actual rise has been about 3.2 millimeters, all due to the two ice sheets.

“The melting accounts for 20 percent of sea level rise in the past two decades ... adding 11 millimeters. It doesn’t sound like much until you consider it’s like pouring in more than 26 Lake Tahoes.” (Video via NBC News)

The extra 11 millimeters isn’t a drastic change yet, but the lead researcher tells the BBC what’s really troubling is that the melting is speeding up. (Video via CNN)

“Sometimes the ice sheets grow and sometimes they shrink. We need to measure them over 20 years to be able to see the true story. And the true story is that the ice losses have increased.”

The research also helped settle a debate. It was thought warmer oceans might increase snowfall in Antarctica, which could offset the melting.

Nature reports that did turn out to be the case, but the snowfall wasn’t enough to totally compensate. Overall, Antarctica is melting, even if it’s slower than Greenland.

Altogether, the ice sheet melt accounted for about a third of the total sea level rise. Much of the rest comes from the oceans expanding as they become warmer. A writer for National Geographic reminds us what’s at stake.

“Environmental damage may include widespread erosion, contamination of aquifers and crops, and harm to marine life. And in the long term, rising seas may force hundreds of millions of people who live along the coast to abandon their homes.”

Experts’ latest estimates say sea levels could rise three feet by the end of this century — and that level or rise would mean Hurricane Sandy-scale flooding roughly every three years.

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