Studies have revealed that a northeast Greenland glacier is rapidly melting and this destabilization could raise the sea levels by about one and a half foot.
The huge glacier is reportedly disintegrating into the North Atlantic Ocean.
“The glaciers in the North Greenland are changing at a high rate. The changes in shape and volume exhibited by Zachariae Isstrom over the past years might result into increasing global sea levels since it is crumbling down into the Atlantic Ocean”, said Jeremie Mouginot, who is an associate project scientist at the University of California, Irvine.
What might be the cause?
The glacier, known as Zachariae Isstrom is among the three main glaciers and it drains into Northeast Greenland Ice Stream. Since 2012, the glacier has rapidly been receding at a higher rate, accounting for a loss of 95% of its ice shelf that stabilizes it and currently has a 75-meter high ice cliff above the water levels. Yearly, Zachariae is reported to be presently flaking about 4.5 tons of ice.
The bottom of the glacier is eroded by currents that carry warmer ocean water while the rapidly increasing air temperatures melt the top of the glacier causing the breakdown of the sheets into smaller fragments that get into the deeper ground. According to Eric Rignot, who is also a senior author at the University of California, global warming is apparently to be blamed for the rapid melting of the glacier.
In relation to the study, it was discovered that Nioghalfjerdsfjorden (another large glacier that neighbors Zachariae Isstrom) is also rapidly melting, but retreating at a slower rate since it is covered by an inland hill. These two huge glaciers make about 12% of the total Greenland ice sheet and if both fully disintegrate, the global sea levels would be raised by more than 39 inches. Increasing sea levels lead to total disappearance of massive parts of wetlands and plains.
Surprisingly, if a glacier melts down completely, there isn’t a possible replacement for the next thousands of years. Deeper water levels increase the buoyant force that counters the weight of the glacier, resulting in reduced friction that slows the sliding of the glacier into the sea.
Matter of urgency
The changes in the global temperatures cause the meltdown of these ice sheets resulting in increased sea levels in the coming years. The Greenland ice meltdown in relation to the global warming was considered a matter of urgency at the Global Climate Summit in Paris. Both short and long term solutions were discussed, agreed on and expected to be embraced by nations so as to curb global warming and prevent the destruction of planet earth.