Canada glaciers could impact sea levels

2013-03-08 15:00
Glacier.

Glacier. (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Climate Change
    Read more about the environmental changes and challenges the world faces. Now R261.00
    buy now
Washington - A fifth of Canada's glaciers could be gone by the end of the century, a casualty of global warming that would drive a 3.5cm rise in sea levels, a study found.

"Even if we only assume moderate global warming, it is still highly likely that the ice is going to melt at an alarming rate," lead author Jan Lenaerts said in a statement.

And "the chances of it growing back are very slim", emphasised the meteorologist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

He said the process was both irreversible and self-reinforcing - because the snow and ice in the tundra and in the waters of northern Canada currently help reflect away some of the sun's heat.

As they disappear, a larger portion of the sun's rays will be absorbed by the water and land, which will cause temperatures to soar.

Sea level rise

If Canada's glaciers shrink by 20%, as under this scenario, that would correspond to an average global temperature rise of 3°C.

But the temperature jump in the glacial regions of northern Canada would be far higher: 8°, according to estimates by Lenaerts, who emphasised that this is not even a worst-case scenario.

Should they disappear entirely, Canada's glaciers, the third largest ice body in the world, would cause a 20cm rise in sea level.

The scientists urged policymakers to consider the prospect, noting that since 2000, the temperature in Canada's Arctic Archipelago has risen by 1°C - 2°C, and the volume of ice has significantly diminished.

"Most attention goes out to Greenland and Antarctica, which is understandable, because they are the two largest ice bodies in the world," said co-author Michiel van den Broeke, also of the University of Utrecht.

"However, with this research, we want to show that the Canadian glaciers should be included in the calculations for the sea level rise."

The study was published in Geophysical Research Letters, a US scientific journal.

Over the last 20 years, sea level has risen on average by more than 5cm, or 0.3cm a year.

Most of that increase has been attributed to the thermal expansion of water, with just a fifth coming from the melting of the polar ice caps, according to an international study published in November in the US journal Science.

Around two thirds of the melted ice is in Greenland, with the rest in Antarctica, according to the estimates based on satellite images from the US space agency Nasa and the European Space Agency.
Read more on:    climate change
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Montague Gardens 16:43 PM
Road name: Montague Drive

ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - DELAYS towards Bosmansdam Road

Cape Town 16:39 PM
Road name: N1 Outbound

DELAYS approaching the M5 Koeberg Interchange

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is the end of the month and there may be a strong focus on organising finances. You may have found a need to reconstruct or...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.