A recent report confirms that ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, whose mass-loss rates have been rapidly increasing, are matching the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's worst-case sea-level rise scenarios.
The study, published in Nature Climate Change, compares ice-sheet mass-balance results from satellite observations with projections from climate models. The results come from an international team of scientists from the University of Leeds (UK) and the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), who are also part of the ongoing Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE).
IMBIE is an international collaboration between scientists, established in 2011 as a community effort to reduce uncertainties in different satellite-based measurements of ice sheet mass balance, and is co-funded by ESA and NASA.
Since the systematic monitoring of ice sheets began in the early 1990s, Greenland and Antarctica combined lost 6.4 trillion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017 – pushing global sea levels up by 17.8 millimetres. If these rates continue, ice sheets are expected to raise sea levels by a further 17 cm – exposing an additional 16 million people to annual coastal flooding by the end of the century.
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