Research Highlights | Published:

Climate change

Greenland's ice at mercy of ocean

Nature volume 515, page 11 (06 November 2014) | Download Citation

As the climate warms, changes to the ocean around Greenland could cause its ice sheet to melt where it currently seems stable.

Camille Lique and her colleagues at the University of Oxford, UK, used data from an integrated climate model to study a worst-case scenario: concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide that increase by 2% each year for 70 years until they are four times the current level. The authors found that the resulting changes in ocean circulation will contribute to ocean warming across the entire region, by up to 5 °C in places. This will lead to increased melting of marine-terminating glaciers across most of Greenland.

The potential for widespread ice loss suggests that ice-sheet monitoring should not be limited to areas of current, rapid melting, the authors say.

Clim. Dynam. (2014)

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