Greenland ice loss may not be as severe as believed, new study suggests

The ice melt from Greenland’s glaciers may not be as bad as originally believed. New research presented in Nature suggests that the recently seen rapid ice loss will eventually slow to limited levels, ultimately having a small impact over the next almost 200 years. The researchers’ key finding was that Greenland’s outlet glaciers, which allow surface water to run off into the ocean, regularly expand and retreat. By accounting for that behavior in a new computer model, the research team determined that Greenland’s glaciers are likely to contribute only 0.75 to 1.2 inches of water to the sea level between now and 2200, assuming that the earth’s temperature rises about 5 degrees Fahrenheit during that time.

Researchers have been aware of a possible discrepancy in sea level rise measurements due to the outlet glaciers for a while now, but this team is the first to fully address it. In the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) most recent report on the subject, the group actually disregarded Greenland’s outlet glaciers due to there being no proper projection of how they move and lose water, reports LiveScience. This year, the IPCC will be using the team’s new information to inform its study. But while the researchers believe that Greenland’s glaciers will be better off than previously predicted, costal towns will still have to adapt to rising sea levels as climate change becomes more severe.