Washington: Greenland and Antarctica’s ice sheets could together contribute more than 38 centimetres to global sea level rise by 2100, if greenhouse gas emissions continue. The findings are in line with projections in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2019 Special Report on Oceans and the Cryosphere or portions of Earth’s surface where water is in solid form, NASA said.
“One of the biggest uncertainties when it comes to how much sea level will rise in the future is how much the ice sheets will contribute,” said an official. “The strength of ISMIP6 was to bring together most of the ice sheet modelling groups around the world, and then connect with other communities of ocean and atmospheric modelers as well, to better understand what could happen to the ice sheets”.
With warming air temperatures melting the surface of the ice sheet, and warming ocean temperatures causing ocean-terminating glaciers to retreat, Greenland’s ice sheet is a significant contributor to sea level rise, the researchers said. The ISMIP6 team investigated two different scenarios the IPCC has set for future climate to predict sea level rise between 2015 and 2100: one with carbon emissions increasing rapidly and another with lower emissions. In the high emissions scenario, they found that the Greenland ice sheet would lead to an additional global sea level rise of about 3.5 inches by 2100.
Ice loss from the Antarctic ice sheet is more difficult to predict: In the west, warm ocean currents erode the bottom of large floating ice shelves, causing loss; while the vast East Antarctic ice sheet can gain mass, as warmer temperatures cause increased snowfall.