Greenland Ice Sheet

The purpose of this post is to show a person how strong an impact ‘global warming’ can have on the planet.

The Greenland ice sheet is the second biggest ice sheet is the world (following the Antarctic Ice Sheet), it is 1,710,000 square kilometers and covers roughly eighty percent of the surface of Greenland. This Extraordinary piece of land with mind blowing landscapes is in great danger to being lost in the coming years from the effects of climate change. If there is an increase of global warming by 1.6 degrees Celsius the ice sheet may melt and be lost completely.

Alexander Robinson, who is an author, a post doctoral researcher, and physicist, says: “It depends on how high above the threshold we go.”

For example if the increase in ‘global warming’ was eight degrees Celsius that would mean the whole ice sheet would melt in two-thousand years and twenty percent of this melting would happen in the first five-hundred years.

Both the Greenland’s ice sheet, and the Antarctica’s ice sheet have been a major source of information on the Earth’s climate history. Along with the collection of data, both ice sheets also represent a source of growing concern for rising sea levels. If the Greenland ice sheet were to melt completely, the loss of it would raise global sea levels by an average of approximately twenty-four feet. According to a  study based on ICESat satellite data, during much of the past decade, the ice sheet lost mass at a rate of between 191 billion and 240 billion tons a year.

This study represents an advance over previous efforts because it takes two new factors into account: changes in ice-sheet altitude and the increase in heat-trapping land exposed by a shrinking ice sheet. As the sheet loses mass, it loses altitude which is a key contributor in maintaining cold temperatures on the sheet’s surface.

The method the researchers used was to work these factors into computer simulations of the ice sheet’s behaviour under a changing climate, using regional temperatures that could be expected for various levels of global warming.

The results that the researchers noticed suggest that under the right conditions, the ice sheet could stabilize, but would cover a smaller area than it does today. This is consistent with results other groups have gathered.

So really, unless changes are made immediately to the ways that people are living their everyday life, the Earth is in for some major changes that we as human beings have majorly contributed too. The main message that I wanted to highlight in this post is that CHANGE NEEDS TO HAPPEN. Not eventually… It needs to start happening now.

“People tend to focus on the here and now. The problem is that, once global warming is something that most people can feel in the course of their daily lives, it will be too late to prevent much larger, potentially catastrophic changes.” -Elizabeth Kolbert


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