According to a study released on Monday, the fast-melting ice sheet in Greenland would eventually cause the global sea level to rise by at least 10.6 inches (27 centimeters), which is more than twice as much as predicted. Zombie ice, also known as dead or doomed ice, is ice that is still a part of the parent ice sheet but is not gaining new snow. These ice sheets are “committed” to melting, raising the sea level. Regardless of the current climate scenario we adopt, this ice has been condemned to the ocean, which is more akin to putting a foot in the grave.
Zombie Ice: Scientist Insights
The study’s estimate of an inevitable sea level increase of 10 inches is more than twice as great as what experts had previously predicted would result from the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet. According to a study published in Nature Climate Change, it might measure up to 30 inches (78 centimeters). In contrast, last year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment predicted that the expected sea level increase due to Greenland ice melt by the year 2100 would range from 2 to 5 inches (6 to 13 cm).
For the investigation, researchers examined the balance of the zombie ice. In a state of perfect equilibrium, snowfall in Greenland’s highlands flows down, replenishes, and deepens glacier sides, balancing off what is melting on the edges. But over the past few decades, there has been an imbalance due to more melting and less refilling.
According to the study’s authors, 3.3% of all the ice in Greenland will melt regardless of how much carbon pollution is reduced globally because of the ratio of what is being added to what is being lost, Colgan said. Colgan remarked, “I think starved would be a suitable description for what’s happening to the ice.
According to one of the study’s authors, the warming ice sheet’s failure to refill its margins has already resulted in the melting of more than 120 trillion tons (110 trillion metric tons) of zombie ice. If all the ice were to melt over the United States, the resulting water would be 37 feet (11 meters) deep. Without replenishment, the climate change-induced melting of the fatal ice will raise sea levels, according to research co-author and glaciologist William Colgan of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.” Ice is dead. According to Colgan, it will simply melt and vanish off the ice sheet. No matter which climate (emissions) scenario we choose at this time, this ice has been relegated to the ocean. It is “more like one foot in the grave,” according to the study’s principal author, glaciologist Jason Box of the Greenland survey.
This is due to the already-occurring warming. According to the findings, an equilibrium condition exists where snowfall from the Greenland ice cap’s higher elevations flows down to refuel and thicken glacier margins. According to this, there has been less replenishment and more melting during the past few decades.
According to the scientists’ calculations of the least committed ice loss based on the ratio of recharge to loss, 3.3% of Greenland’s total ice volume will melt, even if the planet’s temperature remains stable at its current level. However, the melting and subsequent rising sea levels could be much more significant, given that global warming is expected to worsen. If Greenland’s record melt year (2012) is a common occurrence, the study claims it might rise to as much as 30 inches (78 centimeters). The study team has not, however, provided a schedule. It just states that this committed melting will probably occur “within this century.”
Others claim that the study provides a reliable, cautious estimate of what is likely to occur, despite some critics’ concerns about the period being left out as unknowable. As opposed to previous ice sheet modeling, the strategy is “more founded in what has already happened,” according to John Walsh, A top scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
For the millions of people living in coastal areas, the study’s prediction of an unavoidable rising sea level is unfortunate news. Eight of the top ten cities in the world are located close to a shore, according to the UN Atlas of the Oceans. Flooding, high tides, and storms will become more frequent and severe due to rising sea levels as their effects will be felt farther inland. Threats to the regional economy and infrastructure follow from this. Low-lying coastal areas will also be more severely affected.