Greenland and Antarctica melting faster than expected

Written by webmestre on January 8, 2012. Posted in Ecology

The rate of melting by the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica may throw existing projections for sea level rise out the window. Unfortunately for Maldivians and other idyllic, but altitude-challenged islands, the ice sheets are melting faster than anyone expected.

Sea levels have been rising nearly unabated since the late 19th century, but rates have been increasing in recent years. The bulk of the change has been attributed to water expanding due to rising ocean temperatures, while melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica was considered to contribute a relatively small amount.

But a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters reports the ice sheets may be contributing to sea level rise at a rate three times that which was previously suspected. The result? Sea levels could reach predicted heights 50 years earlier than experts thought, and total sea level rise may exceed previous estimates.

Surface melting on Greenland is expanding

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