22 January 2023

We are Completely Fucked

We now have more data, and it appears that the Greenland ice field is melting faster than previously thought, and it is seeing unprecedented temperatures.

Not only will the melting of this ice cause sea levels to rise, but the land underneath will spring back once the weight of the ice is removed, further increasing sea level rise:

The coldest and highest parts of the Greenland ice sheet, nearly two miles above sea level in many locations, are warming rapidly and showing changes that are unprecedented in at least a millennium, scientists reported Wednesday.

That’s the finding from research that extracted multiple 100-foot or longer cores of ice from atop the world’s second-largest ice sheet. The samples allowed the researchers to construct a new temperature record based on the oxygen bubbles stored inside them, which reflect the temperatures at the time when the ice was originally laid down.

“We find the 2001-2011 decade the warmest of the whole period of 1,000 years,” said Maria Hörhold, the study’s lead author and a scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Because warming has only continued since that time, the finding is probably an underestimate of how much the climate in the high-altitude areas of northern and central Greenland has changed. That is bad news for the planet’s coastlines, because it suggests a long-term process of melting is being set in motion that could ultimately deliver some significant, if hard to quantify, fraction of Greenland’s total mass into the oceans. Overall, Greenland contains enough ice to raise sea levels by more than 20 feet.


The work also found that compared with the 20th century as a whole, this part of Greenland, the enormous north-central region, is now 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer, and that the rate of melting and water loss from the ice sheet — which raises sea levels — has increased in tandem with these changes.


Scientists have posited that if the air over Greenland becomes warm enough, a feedback loop would ensue: The ice sheet’s melting would cause it to slump to a lower altitude, which would naturally expose it to warmer air, which would cause more melting and slumping, and so forth.

This is something that needs to be fixed though government fiat, not through market based solutions and nudges favored by the free market Mousketeers.


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