Greenland’s rapid melting could mess with the oceanic “conveyer belt” — with drastic consequences

by Matthew Rosza, Salon


  • A study published in the scientific journal Nature details how Greenland’s largest ice sheet is on track to start melting faster than it has in the past 12,000 years, resulting between 8,800 and 35,900 billion tonnes of ice loss over this century
  • The loss of Greenland’s ice can result in sea level rise up to 7 millimeters per year, endangering many coastal cities worldwide
  • In the United States, nearly 40% of the population lives in an area that can be impacted by rising seas. Globally, eight of the largest cities are near the coast. 
  • Another potential problem that can arise from melted icewater from Greenland is the change of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, the conveyor belt type system that moves warm waters from the tropic regions to cooler regions above the equator in the Atlantic Ocean
  • Any disruption of this process can result in unpredictable and catastrophic consequences for life on Earth, comparable to the global warming-themed disaster movie, “The Day After Tomorrow”

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement massive reductions of warming emissions and begin a drawdown of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere over the decade ahead.  For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.

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Melting glacier

We are on track with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s worst-case climate warming scenario

by the European Space Agency


A new report from an international team of polar scientists concludes that ice losses from Antarctica and Greenland are rising faster than expected, leading the region to the IPCC’s worst-case climate warming scenario:

  • Greenland and Antarctica lost 6.4 trillion tonnes of ice which has pushed global sea levels up by 17.8 millimetres over 25 years 
  • Of the total sea level rise coming from melting polar ice sheets, around 60% was due to Greenland ice losses and 40% was due to Antarctica
    • Most of the ice lost in both countries has been triggered by oceans melting their outlet glaciers
  • If the ice sheets from the two countries continue to melt at this rate they will cause an extra 17 centimetres of sea level rise by the end of the century, risking annual coastal flooding 400 million people
  • Much of Greenland’s ice losses a result of rising air temperatures and the amount of melt is expected to rise

The Climate Center’s Rapid Decarbonization Campaign sets a goal that by 2025, California will have enacted the bold, accelerated policies required by science to double emissions reductions, accelerate drawdown, and secure resilient communities by 2030.

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One of Antarctica’s fastest-shrinking glaciers just lost an iceberg twice the size of Washington, D.C.

By Brandon Specktor, Live Science


Pine Island Glacier, one of the fastest-shrinking glaciers in Antarctica, broke off chunks of ice in an event known as “calving,” just days after the region hit it’s all-time highest temperature.

  • Calving, the breaking of ice away from the edge of glaciers, has become a nearly annual occurrence for the Pine Island Glacier and the neighboring Thwaites Glacier near the Antarctic Peninsula
  • The icebergs measure more than 130 square miles, double the size of Washington, D.C.
  • When the ice melts, it is believed that the melt will not contribute to large amounts sea level rise since ice at the edge of the glacier was already floating

The Climate Center’s Rapid Decarbonization Campaign addresses the urgency of the climate crisis by setting a timeline in line with the current science.

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