Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Warming temperatures will change Greenland's face, experts predict

Date:
November 13, 2012
Source:
City College of New York
Summary:
Global climate models abound. What is harder to pin down, is how a warmer global temperature might affect any specific region on Earth. Researchers have now made the global local. Using a combination of climate models, they predict how different greenhouse gas scenarios would change the face of Greenland and impact sea level rise.

Professor Marco Tedesco balances at the edge of a supraglacial lake.
Credit: Copyright M. Tedesco/WWF

Global climate models abound. What is harder to pin down, however, is how a warmer global temperature might affect any specific region on Earth.

Dr. Marco Tedesco, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at The City College of New York, and a colleague have made the global local. Using a regional climate model and the output of three global climate models, they can predict how different greenhouse gas scenarios would change the face of Greenland over the next century and how this would impact sea level rise.

The resulting fine-scale model gives a high-resolution picture of the island's future. "We put Greenland under a microscope to see what accounts for melting and for ice mass changes in different regions," said Professor Tedesco.

He and his colleague, Xavier Fettweis of the University of Liege, Belgium, reported their results online November 8 in Environmental Research Letters.

They compared two possible future CO2 scenarios: a concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere projected for the end of the century of 850 parts per million (ppm) versus a more aggressive projection of 1370 ppm. The first approximates the current rate of increase.

The Greenland ice sheet would lose more ice and snow to melting than it would accumulate in both scenarios. Basins on the southwest and north coasts would suffer the greatest losses. Temperatures would only have to increase by 0.6 to 2.16 degrees Celsius (1.8-3.9 F) to tip the balance into more loss than gain.

The new model shows how a melting would alter the topography of "one of the world's refrigerators," potentially affecting adjacent ocean circulation and salinity, and speeding further melting.

Though dramatic, Professor Tedesco said the predictions he reported might be too conservative. "They don't take into account progressive effects of the changing elevations and topography and the acceleration of ice sheet movement." These results, however, represent a step forward toward understanding the potential repercussions of warming temperatures; an improvement on models that give a much coarser view into the future, he added.

"Some areas will be 400 meters below the current elevation just because of melting. This might very well impact the speed and amount of ice that is flowing to the ocean. It would increase the rate of melting, because conditions get warmer at lower elevations" he noted. "Imagine an ice cream that is melting much faster in one area. This will change the shape of the ice mass over Greenland."

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by City College of New York. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M Tedesco, X Fettweis. 21st century projections of surface mass balance changes for major drainage systems of the Greenland ice sheet. Environmental Research Letters, 2012; 7 (4): 045405 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/045405

Cite This Page:

City College of New York. "Warming temperatures will change Greenland's face, experts predict." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121113134813.htm>.
City College of New York. (2012, November 13). Warming temperatures will change Greenland's face, experts predict. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121113134813.htm
City College of New York. "Warming temperatures will change Greenland's face, experts predict." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121113134813.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) Federal researchers have released new images of the City of Chester, a steamship that sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888. Researchers recently found the shipwreck while mapping shipping routes. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 23, 2014) A group of space explorers say the chance of a city-obliterating asteroid striking Earth is higher than scientists previously believed. Deborah Gembara reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins