Global sea level rise is accelerating as the Greenland Ice Sheet sheds more of its ice, scientists have found.
Given this quickening pace, it’s possible that by the end of this century, sea level rise could threaten coastal communities around the world, from Miami to Mumbai.
A new study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, is one of a few recent works to confirm an acceleration in sea level rise during the past few decades. There had been greater uncertainty about this before, with climate deniers latching onto that and arguing that such an acceleration has not, in fact, been occurring.
However, by using calculations of the various contributing factors to sea level rise, such as melting ice sheets, water expansion that occurs as the oceans warm, and other factors, researchers from institutions in China, Australia, and the U.S. found that global mean sea level increased from about 2.2 millimeters per year in 1993 to 3.3 millimeters per year in 2014.
Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
While that may seem tiny, the numbers add up quickly. These rate changes are the difference between a decadal sea level rise rate of 0.86 inches and 1.29 inches, with greater acceleration expected in the future.
The findings also made clear how major contributors to sea level rise have been changing over time. And it doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
Whereas global ice mass loss constituted 50 percent of sea level rise in 1993, this rose to 70 percent in 2014. The study found that the largest increase came from the Greenland Ice Sheet, which made up just 5 percent of the global mean sea level rise rate in 1993, and now constitutes 25 percent of it.
Given scientists’ concerns about Antarctica’s stability, look for melting glaciers to comprise an even greater share of the sea level rise budget in the near future.
Sea level is accelerating! and largest…