In Brief

Greenland’s ice sheet melting much faster than thought

Development threatens hundreds of millions of people with inundation

Greenland’s ice sheet is melting much faster than previously thought, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

New data suggests that ice is being lost from Greenland seven times faster than it was in the 1990s, and the scale and speed of ice loss is much higher than previously predicted.

The Guardian says the development threatens hundreds of millions of people with inundation and “brings some of the irreversible impacts of the climate emergency much closer”.

Sea level rises are likely to reach 67cm by 2100, about 7cm more than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has previously thought.

Some 400 million people will be put at risk of flooding every year, instead of the 360 million previously predicted, says the report.

The authors of the study have expressed alarm at the findings. Andrew Shepherd, professor of Earth observation at the University of Leeds, said these “are not unlikely events” and “will be devastating for coastal communities”.

The BBC explains that in an average year now, Greenland sheds about 250 billion tonnes of ice. However, this year was significantly warmer, so “the ice loss this year was more like 370 billion tonnes," said Dr Ruth Mottram, who is affiliated to the Danish Meteorological Institute.

Louise Sime, a climate scientist at the British Antarctic Survey, said: “This finding should be of huge concern for all those who will be affected by sea level rise.”

The Daily Mail says that sea level rise threatens cities “from Shanghai to London, to low-lying swathes of Florida or Bangladesh, and to entire nations such as the Maldives”.

Rachel Kennerley, of Friends of the Earth, said: “This latest research is yet more in an ever-growing pile of evidence which shows we need real action, not warm words.”

The latest data, collated by a group of 96 polar scientists from around the world, was published in Nature magazine.

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