NASA is scheduled to launch its Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) in July 2016, which should provide further precise measurements of Greenland ice. The original ICESat satellite used by the researchers stopped gathering data in 2010. In the meantime, the agency said last week it is continuing air flights to monitor Arctic and Antarctic sea ice.
Last year, scientists warned that the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets are shrinking three times faster than they were in the 1990s, with Greenland experiencing the most dramatic melt (ClimateWire, Nov. 30, 2012).
Many scientists further agree that global sea levels will rise roughly 3 feet by 2100, but there is high uncertainty in the number. The margin of error makes it difficult for regional planners in coastal regions, such as in south Florida, to plan ahead with building codes and land management decisions.
Bolch said he is working on a study -- set for release in a few weeks -- using similar precise methodology of mass loss for non-Greenland glaciers. That, combined with the just-released study, should provide a much better picture of the future, he said.
Greenland glaciers will "be a factor to consider for estimating future sea level rise, particularly since the new inventory suggests that they represent about 12 percent of the global area covered by glaciers," Carlson said.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500