The entire ice mass covering Greenland will disappear from the world map if temperatures rise by as little as 2C, with severe consequences for the rest of the world, a panel of scientists told Congress in August. An enormous chunk of ice, roughly 97 square miles in size, has broken off the Petermann Glacier along the northwest coast of Greenland. According to Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University “Sometime in the next decade we may pass a tipping point …a rise in the range of 2C to 7C would mean the obliteration of Greenland’s ice sheet. The fall-out would be felt thousands of miles away from the Arctic, unleashing a global sea level rise of 23ft (7 metres), Alley warned. Greenland is losing ice mass at an increasing rate, dumping more icebergs into the ocean because of warming temperatures, he said. The briefing also noted that the last six months had set new temperature records. Robert Bindschadler, a research scientist at the University of Maryland, told the briefing: “We believe it is possible to reach a tipping point in a few decades in which we would lose the ice sheet in a century.” The ice loss from the Petermann Glacier was the largest such event in nearly 50 years.
Posted on September 14, 2010 by Ralph Metzner