By the end of the century, sea levels could rise twice as high as previously predicted, based on new data about the dynamics of parts of Greenland's ice sheet.
The new study should add detail to climate models, and the new reality could be that the ice will melt in such a way as to make sea-levels rise faster and farther than previous United Nations estimates, according to lead researcher Beata Csatho of the University at Buffalo.
Ice sheet models usually dont include all the complexity of ice dynamics that can happen in nature. This research will give ice sheet modelers more precise, more detailed data, Csatho said. If current climate models from the IPCC included data from ice dynamics in Greenland, the sea level rise estimated during this century could be twice as high as what they are currently projecting, she said.
The paper focuses on Jakobshavn Isbrae, which at four miles wide, is Greenlands largest glacier. It is also its fastest moving glacier, having doubled its discharge into the Disko Bay this decade.
Here's how the university described the research:
In order to document the most comprehensive story possible of the behavior of Jakobshavn Isbrae since the Little Ice Age in the late 1800s, Csatho and her colleagues at Ohio State University, the University of Kansas and NASA used a combination of techniques.
These included field mapping, remote sensing, satellite imaging and the application of digital techniques in order to glean hidden data from historic aerial photographs as many as 60 years after they were taken.
The data from the historic photos were combined with data from historical records, ground surveys, field mapping and measurements taken from the air to document important signs of change in the glaciers geometry.
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