Sustainability and environment

Global warming is worse than we thought!

Global-warming

A smartlooking image about Global Warming.

I really don’t like to be a fearmongerer. And I don’t want to be alarmist, but global warming is real. Well, that is probably no news for you. Even though there are still isolated pockets of people who are in denial (supporting themselvers with “research” that is either funded by companies with a certain interest, or which has already been rejected by the academic community, the fact that climate change is real is pretty much commonly accepted. The same goes for the fact it is caused by humans, by the way.

But things are a lot worse than we thought, according to the article written by Noel, van de Berg, et all, which was published by Nature.

The researchers tried to figure out how the decline of glaciers and icecaps on Greenland develop through time. The melting of the Greenland Icecaps is responsible for 43% of the annual rise in sealevels at this time. They came up with a new approach to measure this and discovered that there is a tipping point, after which the total melting of the Greenland Icecaps is inevitable.

When this tipping point will be reached, you ask? Well… we already passed it. They estimate this point was reached around 1997. That’s 20 years ago!

Melting Ice bad?

Some people say it’s no problem if the ice melts. After all, most of the iceberg is underwater. Indeed, that is correct. For icebergs. When an iceberg melts, the volume of underwater ice is replaced by new water (which is actually more dense due to the breaking of “Hydrogenbridges” between the molecules).

But the problem is… most ice isn’t icebergs. Most ice is currently stored on top of land. Such as the Greenland Ice Sheet..

Glacier Sponge

The researchers discovered that there is a normal breathing pattern of glaciers. In summer, they melt, but not all water flows away. Some of the water is absorbed in the glacier. And then, in winter, it freezes again. But, just like a sponge, the glacier can absorb only so much water. If there is more than that, the excess water flows downhill and contributes to the rising sealevels. In 1997, the saturation point was reached, meaning that water is flowing away from the glaciers. They state that this caused the loss of ice-mass to triple after 1997. Already, we’ve lost 14% of Greenlands Ice. Worse, if the melting is inevitable, that means we still have 86% to go. So for every drop of meltwater that already founds it way to the Oceans, there’s another 6,14 drops waiting.
So for every mm of sealevel rise coming from Greenland, there’s another 6 mm coming.

Are we doomed?

The researchers found that the smaller glaciers are inevitably goners. But don’t be too cheerful yet, because “small” still means that it’s a couple of hundreds of square kilometres large. The main icesheet, is a few million square kilometres.

So we’re safe, right? Well, not quite. Main author of the article, Brice Noëll of Utrecht University tells us that the melting line is advancing: “That icecap (the main, Fr) is doing wel right now, but nett melting is creeping in”.

Other scientists who know their Pole confirm that the findings of this study are plausible.

That moment is still quit far away, they expect we’ll have lost about a quarter of Greenland ice around the year 2100, which would result in centimeters of extra sea level rises.

Does this give us time to make amends? Well, in theory, yes. But I have little faith in that. Because about 30 years ago, my primary school teacher already taught us kids about global warming. But it wasn’t until Al Gore (“I used to be the next president of the United States”) started to preach the Climate Sermon that peopl actually woke up. And that was only 10 years ago -which is a shock, considering we had a “big climate agreement” only a year ago…

Source: Nature Communications 8, Article number: 14730 (2017) doi:10.1038/ncomms14730, link

 

5 Comments

  • April 3, 2017 - 5:14 am | Permalink

    Global warming is such a scary thing! I can’t put my finger around it really. Very good text!

  • April 3, 2017 - 5:35 am | Permalink

    Thanks for your explanation. With ever increasing industrialization global warming seems unstoppable in short term.

  • April 3, 2017 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this post. Still cant believe there are so many climate change deniers out there!

  • April 5, 2017 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    thanks for the awareness

  • April 5, 2017 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Good article. You are right – global warming is real. We have now quite warm winters here, in Lithuania, Northern Europe.

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