Greenland's ice cap doomed to disappearance, say scientists

April 14, 2004

Brussels, 13 Apr 2004

A team of European scientists has warned that global warning could lead to the disappearance of Greenland's entire ice cap within 1,000 years, and the subsequent drowning of coastlines around the world.

According to Jonathon Gregory from the UK's University of Reading and Philippe Huybrechts from the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, the meltdown is probably now unavoidable.

Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists report that an average annual warming in the region of 2.7 degrees Celsius would mean that the rate of melting would outpace annual snowfall. The process will 'probably be irreversible this side of a new ice age,' write Drs Gregory and Huybrechts.

Greenland has the world's second largest ice cap. It comprises 2.85 million cubic kilometres of ice. Computer models of climate change showed temperatures in Greenland rising by 2.7 degrees Celsius in 34 out of 35 possible scenarios, while many predicted warming by more than eight degrees. In a worst-case scenario, temperatures will rise by eight degrees Celsius every year and sea levels will begin to rise by seven millimetres per year.

Some researchers have questioned these predictions, saying that ice loss may depend on more complex factors such as ice flows. Some say that the melted ice will make the North Atlantic less salty, perhaps triggering a collapse of the Gulf Stream. This could cool the climate over Greenland and possibly halt the melting.

Regardless of whether or not the situation is really as dire as this latest research suggests, the melting of glaciers has been a reality for the past three decades. Over the last 30 years, the Arctic Ocean icepack has thinned by more than 30 per cent, and has been shrinking by an area equivalent to the Netherlands every year.

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities
Item source: http://dbs.cordis.lu/cgi-bin/srchidadb?C ALLER=NHP_EN_NEWS&ACTION=D&SESSION=&RCN= EN_RCN_ID:21879

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns