The worst-case scenario for climate change is playing out, and sea level rise is increasing 1.7mm per year, which will make flooding much more common for the next century.
The worst climate change scenario is beginning to play out, and that is that the rates of ice sheet mass loss in Greenland and Antarctica they coincide with the worst estimates and that should be of great concern to the rest of the world.
Not only are we not meeting the objectives of curbing as much as possible the increase in temperatures due to climate change in this century, but it seems that we are venturing into the worst possible scenario, something that could change the way in which human beings will live to the next century.
And it is that the latest estimates affirm that both Greenland and Antarctica they’re losing ice six times faster than the 1990s. Specifically, in this new study published in Nature Climate Change, it is noted that the loss of ice has reached 6.4 billion tons between 1992 and 2017.
This would represent a rise in global sea level by 17.8 mm, more than enough to make life unsustainable in certain coastal parts of the world where decades ago it was possible to live and now is not viable.
To reach that conclusion, the international team of 89 scientists used observational data spanning three decades to produce a unique estimate of ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica. This study thus compares the results of the mass balance of the ice sheet from satellite observations with projections from climate models.
Scientists began monitoring ice sheets in the early 1990s, and since then Greenland and Antarctica combined have lost 6.4 trillion tons of ice from 1992 to 2017. If that trend continues, sea level rise is expected to exceed 1.7 cm exposing 16 million people to constant flooding by 2100.
Observation is possible thanks to the different satellites that are the only means that scientists have to constantly monitor vast areas of the planet. “Satellite observations not only tell how much ice is being lost, but they also help us to identify and understand which parts of Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice and through what processes,” says the professor. Tom slater, lead author of the study and climate researcher at the Center for Polar Modeling and Observation at the University of Leeds in the UK.
Climate change will hit some areas of the planet more violently than others, especially developing countries and the poorest areas.
Since 1901, the loss of ice in Greenland and Antarctica, together with other events such as the melting of different glaciers and ice caps, has caused the global sea level to rise 1.7 mm per year.
If nothing is done to remedy it, and there is less and less time, scientists say that sea level rise will affect more than 95% of the world’s oceans by 2100, and that 70% of the coasts will experience a rise in sea level.