According to a British study, sea levels will rise by 1 meter by the end of the century if the current melting rate continues.
Research by Leeds and Edinburgh universities and University College London found that 28 trillion tons of ice have disappeared from the Earth’s surface since 1994. The article was published this month in the journal The Cryosphere.
Analyzing satellite images, the scientists concluded that melting glaciers and ice sheets around the world can cause sea levels to rise dramatically, reaching 1 meter by the end of the century.
Professor Andy Shepherd, director of Leeds University’s Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, said that every centimeter of sea level rise implies the displacement of millions of people who live in regions that are below sea level.
The findings were made a week after researchers at Ohio State University found that the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet, the largest in the world, may have passed a point of no return.
The snowfall that replaces the glaciers annually in the region is no longer able to keep pace with the melting, which means that the island will continue to lose ice even if global temperatures stop rising.
With fresh water being poured into the oceans, marine biomes will be severely disturbed. In addition, ice loss reduces the planet’s ability to reflect solar radiation back into space. The sea and the soil beneath this ice are also absorbing more heat, further increasing the warming of the planet.
Despite the warnings of scientists over the years, the emissions that contribute to the rise in global temperatures have not decreased, on the contrary.
According to the Met Office, the UK meteorological service, there was an increase of 0.14°C in global temperatures between 1980 and 1990, and of 0.2°C in each following decade.
This rate will continue to rise, at around 0.3ºC per decade, as carbon emissions remain unchecked.