Greenland’s Melting Ice Sheet Nears Tipping Point

National Geographic reports:

A new study warns that Greenland’s ice is melting faster than scientists previously thought. But perhaps the biggest surprise is that most of this ice loss is from the land-fast ice sheet itself, not Greenland’s glaciers.

The new study, published January 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the largest sustained ice loss from early 2003 to mid-2013 came from Greenland’s southwest region, which is mostly devoid of large glaciers.

Data from NASA’s GRACE satellites and GPS stations scattered around Greenland’s coast showed that between 2002 and 2016, Greenland lost approximately 280 billion tons of ice per year.

The Guardian reports:

“We knew we had one big problem with increasing rates of ice discharge by some large outlet glaciers,” said Michael Bevis, lead author of the paper and a professor of geodynamics at Ohio State University.

“But now we recognize a second serious problem: increasingly, large amounts of ice mass are going to leave as meltwater, as rivers that flow into the sea.”

“The only thing we can do is adapt and mitigate further global warming – it’s too late for there to be no effect,” Bevis said. “This is going to cause additional sea level rise. We are watching the ice sheet hit a tipping point.”