In the next 200 years, the ice sheet model shows that melting at the present rate could contribute up to 63 inches to global sea-level rise, said the team led by scientists at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. This new estimate is 80 percent higher than previous estimates, which forecasted up to 35 inches of sea-level rise from Greenland’s ice.
The team ran the model 500 times out to the year 3000 for each of three possible future climate scenarios, adjusting key land, ice, ocean, and atmospheric variables to test their effects on ice melt rate. The three climate scenarios depend on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere in the coming years. In the scenario with no reduction of emissions, the study found that the entire Greenland Ice Sheet will likely melt in a millennium, causing 17 to 23 feet of sea-level rise.
In the scenario where emissions are stabilized by the end of the century rather than continue to increase, the model shows ice loss falling to 26-57 percent of total mass by 3000. Drastically limiting emissions so they begin to decline by the end of the century could limit ice loss to 8-25 percent. This scenario would produce up to six feet of sea-level rise in the next millennium, according to the study.