Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than in the 1990s and is tracking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s high-end climate warming scenario, which would see 40 million more people exposed to coastal flooding by 2100.
A team of 96 polar scientists from 50 international organizations has produced the most complete picture of Greenland ice loss to date. The Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) Team combined 26 separate surveys to compute changes in the mass of Greenland’s ice sheet between 1992 and 2018. Altogether, data from 11 different satellite missions were used, including measurements of the ice sheet’s changing volume, flow, and gravity.
The findings, published today (December 10, 2019) in Nature, show that Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion metric tons of ice since 1992 — enough to push global sea levels up by 10.6 millimeters. The rate of ice loss has risen from 33 billion metric tons per year in the 1990s to 254 billion metric tons per year in the last decade — a seven-fold increase within three decades.
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