In a report from an international team of scientists, it was revealed that Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than it was more than two decades ago. This analysis was based on satellite observations from 1992 to 2018, which repeatedly measured the ice sheet’s thickness, flow, and gravity. 

Since the start of the study, it showed that Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion tonnes of ice to the ocean. This leads to a 10.6mm sea-level rise. The scientists also discovered that it is melting at an accelerated rate.

The report also suggests that 7cm of sea rise could be expected by the end of the 21st century, and that’s from Greenland ice melt alone. This puts low-lying coastal regions at risk of flooding. Around 1 billion people today live in places that are 10m above current high-tide lines, with 250 million below 1m.

Storms are predicted to “break flood defenses,” if they happen against a baseline of higher seas, according to Professor Andy Shepherd of Leeds University.

How Greenland is Losing Ice

Dr Ruth Mottram, one of the scientists behind Imbie – the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise, says there are two ways that Greenland is losing ice. First, is by “surface melting” and water running off into the ocean. The second one is the calving of icebergs and then melting where the ice is in contact with the ocean.” 

Dr. Mottram says Greenland loses 250 billion tonnes of ice in an average year. But this year, the ice loss was 370 billion tonnes.

In 2013, the projection for global sea-level rise by 2100 was 60cm, but with the Imbie report, it suggests an underestimation by 10 cm. 

The Imbie report on Greenland was released in time for the annual COP25 Climate Summit in Madrid and the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.