In a stunning discovery aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise yesterday, scientists found new evidence that Greenland’s glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate. Global warming is no longer on the horizon, it has arrived at our doorstep, and if you live in a coastal city, that’s not just a figure of speech.
Scientists aboard Greenpeace ship make startling discovery: Greenland's glaciers are melting faster than anticipated.
That's because Greenland's massive ice sheet locks up more than six percent of the world's fresh water supply, and it is melting much faster than expected. If Greenland were to melt fully, it would cause sea levels around the globe to rise by nearly 20 feet. Even measurements of four to five feet of sea level rise could mean that cities like New York, Miami and Boston will experience flooding in low lying areas and increased threat of storm surge from hurricanes. More than 70 percent of the world's population lives on flat coastal plains, and 11 of the world's 15 largest cities are on the coast or bays and estuaries.
The Arctic Sunrise arrived in Greenland at the end of June, with scientists from around the world onboard. The ship and its crew have been documenting and measuring the impacts of global warming. Yesterday's' scientific discovery adds further proof that Greenland's glaciers are melting far more rapidly than previously believed. All current scientific forecasts for global warming had assumed slower rates of melting from the Greenland ice sheet. This new evidence reveals that the threat of global warming is much greater and more urgent than previously believed.
In addition to the increased speed of the glacier, scientists from the University of Maine found that the Kangerdlussuaq glacier has receded more than three miles since 2001. Measurements from glaciers across Greenland are providing startling new evidence of thinning, causing the glaciers to speed up and decrease in overall mass, intensifying the flow of ice into the ocean.
Kangerdlussuaq glacier alone contains enough ice to fill the Great Lakes four times if it melts completely.
"The alarm is now deafening. We can't stand back and watch our future go under, literally," said Melanie Duchin, Greenpeace campaigner onboard the Arctic Sunrise. "We must stop generating global warming pollution."
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