Polar Ice Caps Melting Six Times Faster Than In 1990s
The polar ice caps are melting six times faster than they were in the 1990s, according to recent data.
Since 2010, Greenland and Antarctica have lost an average of 475 billion tonnes of ice every year, compared to 81 billion tonnes lost every year in the 1990s.
Due to the ice caps melting so rapidly, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted that sea levels will rise so much by the end of the century, 400 million people will be exposed to coastal flooding each year if carbon emissions aren’t drastically dealt with.
With this in mind, the IPCC believes global sea levels will rise by a worrying 53cm by 2100. However, a new analysis found sea levels will rise by 17cm more than initially thought, bringing the total to 70cm.
Professor Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds, who led the research, told The Guardian:
Every centimetre of sea level rise leads to coastal flooding and coastal erosion, disrupting people’s lives around the planet.
These are not unlikely events with small impacts. They are already under way and will be devastating for coastal communities.
He added that it will be the extra 17cm rise in sea levels that will cause those affected by coastal flooding to rise from 360 million a year to 400 million.
While Erik Ivins, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, who led the research alongside Shepherd, said the loss of such an amount of ice was a clear sign of global warming, adding: ‘The satellite measurements provide prima facie, rather irrefutable, evidence.’
The European Union recently spoke about its plans for the EU to be carbon neutral by 2050 in their new ‘Green Deal’. Though this was branded a ‘surrender’ by Greta Thunberg.
Prof. Shepherd echoed this sentiment, saying urgent cuts to carbon emissions are vital, as ‘we can offset some of that [sea level rise] if we stop heating the planet.’
If Greta’s speech didn’t prove we need to make changes sooner rather than later, maybe the 475 billion tonnes of ice a year we’re losing will.
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