The world’s oceans could rise by up to seven meters if Greenland’s ice cap entirely melts because of global warming, climate scientists said on Tuesday.
Glaciers on Greenland, the world’s most icy land mass, are now melting most quickly where they are in contact with surrounding ocean, while ice in the high centre remains intact, said Garry Clarke, a professor at the University of British Columbia in this western Canadian city.
But if global warming causes the freezing level to move higher, the loss of ice would be worse than Greenland experienced in previous interglacial periods dating back hundreds of thousands of years.
“It would be the complete disappearance of the Greenland ice sheet,” Clarke told a meeting of scientists and journalists. “We still don’t know how quickly our rendezvous with this will occur.”
The scientists said much research remains to be done because climate models on Arctic ice sheets are inadequate. Their research contributes to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which will release another report in early May.
Much of their data, the scientists said, is obtained by two satellite tracking systems and gravitational physics.
The speakers were from the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, which is composed of scientists from universities throughout Canada.
Canada will be the country most impacted by global warming, said the group chair Gordon McBean, a scientist and former federal government deputy minister.
But the polar cryosphere