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Global climate change

Greenland Ice Sheet could completely melt out by the year 3000

By Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
6/26/2019, 11:02:10 AM

Greenland may be ice-free by the year 3000, if the rate of greenhouse gas emissions remains unchanged, according to new research from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

On the other hand, if greenhouse gas emissions are cut significantly, the loss of ice is much less, with an estimate of 8 to 25 percent of the ice sheet melting out by the year 3000.

Projections for both the end of the century and 2200 tell a similar story: There are a wide range of possibilities, including saving the ice sheet, but it all depends on greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report.

The research team, led by Andy Aschwanden, a research associate professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, looked at new data on the landscape under the ice sheet in order to more accurately model what the distant future may look like.

The Greenland Ice Sheet is currently almost the size of Alaska and covers about 81 percent of Greenland. The ice sheet contains about 8 percent of the world's fresh water.

If the Greenland Ice Sheet were to completely melt out, it would possibly contribute as much as 24 feet to the global sea level rise.

Between 1991 and 2015, Greenland's ice sheet contributed 0.02 of an inch per year to sea level rise. However, this rate could rapidly increase in the future.

Key quote from the UAF News report......

“What we know from the last two decades of just watching Greenland is not because we were geniuses and figured it out, but because we just saw it happen,” Fahnestock said. As for what we will see in the future, “it depends on what we are going to do next.”

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For more details on how the research team came to their conclusions, see the UAF story here.

Link to the journal study.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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Global climate change