A latest study has found that increasing global temperatures could be affecting the Greenland ice sheet and the contribution it is making in sea-level rise in quite serious ways than scientists imagined.
The changes the island’s snow and ice cover have gone through recently has apparently affected its ability to store large amount of water, which means more melting ice could be running off into the ocean than though earlier.
The news is quite worrying for the precarious Greenland ice sheet, which as per scientists has already lost over 9 trillion tons of ice in the previous century. The melting rate of the sheet has been continuously increasing as temperatures keep on getting warm.
As per NASA’s estimations, the Greenland ice sheet loses nearly 287 billion tons of ice every year, in parts because of surface melting and partly due to the calving of huge ice chunks. Ice sheet has a lot of potential to notably raise sea levels as it goes into the ocean, and considering the same scientists have been closely observing it, and any possible thing that could affect how fast it’s melting.
Published on Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, the latest study has focused on a piece of the ice sheet called ‘firn’, which is a porous layer of built-up snow that eventually at a slow pace freezes into ice. It’s considered a significant part of the ice sheet due to its ability to trap and save a lot of excess water prior to it starts running off the glacier surface. It is an important service that is helpful in lessening the sea-level rise that would otherwise be led by the runoff water.
The news paper’s lead author said, “As this layer is porous and the pores are connected, theoretically all the pore space in this firn layer can be used to store meltwater percolating into the firn whenever melt occurs at the surface”.