The total ice loss in Greenland is 590 trillion tonnes a year compared to previous estimates of 550 trillion tonnes.
A new study has found the ice in Greenland is melting at a much faster rate than previously thought.
The ice sheet in Greenland is currently losing 40 trillion extra tonnes of ice a year meaning a total of 590 trillion tonnes ice is lost overall – that’s a 7 percent faster rate than climate change experts previously thought.
The research team form Ohio State University shows that the typical evaluation of ice loss is done by satellites but the study suggests there may have been incorrect assumptions made in calculations when observing the total mass loss of ice. It’s down to glacial isostatic adjustment which is when land ‘springs back’ after a large weight of ice has come away and it’s this that may have been underestimated.
The great worry is rising sea levels which need to be monitored closely, however, the new discovery should help measurements in ice loss around the world – he sea levels have seen an 8 inch rise in the past century alone.
It is thought most of Greenland’s ice loss is down to two relatively small glaciers that have made up 70 percent of the ice loss in Greenland over the last 20 years and the new study has shown they have attributed to 40 percent of the ice loss over thousands of years. This will go towards making more accurate predictions in the future.
Despite the extra 40 trillion tonnes a year, lead author of the study Michael Bevis, says it’s not as massive a difference to usual estimates as it seems.
“It doesn’t change our estimates of the total mass loss all over Greenland by that much,” Bevis said. “But it brings a more significant change to our understanding of where within the ice sheet that loss has happened, and where it is happening now.”
Details of the study were published in the journal Science Advances.