Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Quick Hit: Ice Sheet Melt Picks Up

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I’ve encountered folks writing or saying that the globe and/or poles are actually cooling and that melting glaciers are completely natural and people aren’t influencing them significantly.  The truth (based on actual observations) is that the poles have warmed more than the rest of the globe.  The truth is that the land-based ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica are melting at faster rates than they did during the 20th century.  Those land-based ice sheets are what will cause sea level rise to reach dangerous rates and levels unless we do everything we can today to slow down their melt rate.

From an MSNBC article:

The ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are melting faster than expected, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, an expert with the Center for Ice and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, told the Arctic Council conference in the Arctic town of Tromsoe.

The 2007 IPCC report issued a sea level rise forecast of a couple of feet – at worst.  Observations since that report was issued, including ones Ms. Dahl-Jensen are basing her warning on, are outpacing the rates that were in the 2007 IPCC report.  The only 2-year old forecast of a couple of feet of sea level rise (in itself catastrophic for geopolitical stability) is already an antique.  More realistic levels based on rates seen in the past two years point toward 5-foot sea level rise, which would be even more devastating to global societies and ecosystems.


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