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Global Sea Level Rise Intensifies From Greenland, Researchers Say

First Posted: Jun 27, 2017 05:08 AM EDT
NASA Continues Efforts To Monitor Arctic Ice Loss With Research Flights Over Greenland & Canada
Sea ice is seen from NASA's Operation IceBridge research aircraft off the northwest coast on March 30, 2017 above Greenland.
(Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)

In just a little over two decades, the rate of global sea level rise has increased by 50 percent. Using refined satellite estimates, it was shown that the global sea level rise increased from 2.2 millimeters each year in 1993 to 3.3 millimeters each year in 2014.

The study, published by a team of scientists in Nature Climate Change, was launched in an effort to understand the accelerated rate of sea level rise, as it has not been represented accurately in data. Researchers from Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, CSIRO Australia and the Universities of NSW, Tasmania and Arizona said that the increase in water levels is due mainly to the melting of the ice sheets in Greenland.

Study co-author Xuebin Zhang noted that the estimates of the melting may be from the surface melt as well as the discharge of the ice into the ocean. Both of these processes are said to be able to cause a mass from Greenland ice sheet into the ocean, thus an increase in the sea level.

According to Japan Times, the findings add to the growing concern among scientists of the global watermark, climbing more rapidly than originally forecasted only a few years ago. This is because hundreds of millions of people live in low-lying areas that are vulnerable to rising seas. Major coastal cities are threatened, along with small island states that are already wary of their living conditions.

Greenland alone is said to contain enough frozen water to increase ocean levels to up to 7 meters (23 feet), although experts disagree on the global warming threshold before melting becomes irreversible. However, many do agree that the total rise will be well over a meter by the end of the century.

It is hard to be sure whether or not there is a steady acceleration in global sea rise. Nevertheless, researchers say that the study should sound an alarm and serve as a major warning about the dangers of sea level rise.

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