A new study has found that the Greenland ice sheet, the second largest on the planet, is close to reaching the tipping point of no return with “accelerated melting,” the Mail reported.
Experts at the Arctic University of Norway and the University of Copenhagen analyzed the Jakobshavn basin, located in the Central-Western part, one of the 5 largest in Greenland.
If the troubling signs in this region were to happen to the entire ice sheet, causing it to melt totally, it could eventually raise global sea levels by 23ft (7m), the study found.
Researchers are not yet clear at this point if the ice sheet has reached the proverbial tipping point, or if it’s decades away, but a sea level rise of a few feet is likely unavoidable.
“We might be seeing the beginning of a large-scale destabilization, but at the moment, we cannot tell, unfortunately,” the study’s lead author, University of Copenhagen professor Dr. Niklas Boers, said in a statement.
“So far, the signals we see are only regional, but that might simply be due to the scarcity of accurate and long-term data for other parts of the ice sheet,” Boers added.
In their analysis, researchers believe the ice sheet, which has been recorded and examined over the past 140 years, is suffering from reduced height of the ice sheet because of melting, which is then exposed to warmer air.
The researchers caution that a continuous loop might be happening, with greater melting caused by warmer temperatures.