Melting ice from Greenland is a major contributor in the acceleration of rising sea levels worldwide, a new study revealed.
In fact, researchers estimate that Greenland ice melt supplies about 25 percent of total sea level rise compared with 5 percent from two decades ago. These findings add to the concern that the global ocean watermark is climbing rapidly than what was previously forecasted and that the world may face devastating consequences from the phenomenon.
Rising Sea Levels
In the new report, an international team of scientists from the United States, Australia, and China explained that the rate of sea level rise has grown from 2.2 millimeters in 1993 to 3.3 millimeters in 2014.
To get their data for the study, researchers examined three factors: the expansion of the ocean due to warming, the changes in the amount of water kept on land, and the loss of land-based ice from ice sheets and glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland.
The group also took data from satellite altimetry, which measures heights on the surface of the Earth from outer space.
If the 2014 sea level rise rate would continue, researchers predict that global sea levels would increase by 33 centimeters by the end of the 21st century.
However, as the melting of massive ice sheets and glaciers in both Antarctica and Greenland speed up and global temperatures increase, the rate of sea level is expected to jump sharply, with scientists predicting increases of 3 to 6 feet by 2100.
Major Warning To Coastal Cities
Hundreds of millions of residents in low-lying deltas are vulnerable in case sea levels continue to rise. They are also especially at risk when sea level rise is combined with land sinking caused by depleted water tables, as well as a lack of ground-forming deposit held back by dams, researchers said.
Furthermore, major coastal cities are also threatened, while several island states have already begun drawing up plans for their sinking nations that will no longer be suitable for living.
Chris Harig, one of the study authors, told VICE News that sea level rise negatively impacts coastal communities, drought can put strain on water resources, and rising temperatures can affect the growth of crops.
"We are currently observing these impacts," said Harig. "I hope the biggest takeaway is that it's far past time for meaningful governmental action to address climate change."
The findings of the study are published in the journal Nature Climate Change.