Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Melting Canadian Glaciers

A new study published in the Geophysical Research Letters indicates that about 20 percent of all the ice contained in Canada's glaciers could melt by the end of this century if global average temperatures increased by 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 F) and by 8 Celsius (14.4 F) in the Canadian Arctic.

Previous studies still anticipated a heavy melt of Canada's glaciers resulting in an increase in global sea levels of around 2 centimeters. However, the new study indicates that we can expect a sea level rise of 3.5 centimeters, almost double the previous finding. That is 75 percent more water than previously thought,

This data applies only to Canadian glaciers. When other melting glaciers (ie Greenland, Russia, South-America, etc...) are factored into the equation, sea level rises are considerably higher.

According to a U.N. panel of climate scientists sea levels will rise by between 18 and 59 cm this century, or more if a thaw of vast ice sheets in Antarctica or Greenland accelerates."This alone would lead to an increase in sea levels by about 3.5 cm (1.4 inch)."

Lead author of the study, Jan Lenaerts, of the University of Utrecht said that the trend seemed unstoppable because a thaw of white glaciers would expose dark-colored tundra that would soak up more of the sun's heat and further accelerate the melt.

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