The northern glaciers of Greenland are in trouble, according to a recent study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study used satellite data to show that thousands of glaciers in Greenland’s far north are losing mass at an alarming rate, suggesting that dramatic sea-level rise could be in store.
The research team, led by an international team of scientists spearheaded by Ohio State University glaciologist Mike MacFerrin, used radar-instrumented satellites to measure the elevation of 31 glaciers over the past 16 years. They found that the glaciers have lost an overall total of 19 centimeters of mass between 2002 and 2018—a rate of elevation loss that is 16 times more than what was seen during the 20th century.
The study “paints a bleak future for Greenland’s northern glaciers,” said MacFerrin in a statement, noting that increasingly warm temperatures in the Arctic are taking a toll. Without universal action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, MacFerrin warned that “we could be facing dramatic rates of sea-level rise by the end of the century.”