NASA reported this week that Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets are melting six times faster than they did in the 1990s, a development that could have a severe impact on coastal real estate.
NASA scientists published their statement on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory website in response to a study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that showed Greenland and Antarctica combined lost 6.4 trillion tons of ice in three decades. “Unabated, this rate of melting could cause flooding that affects hundreds of millions of people by 2100,” according to NASA.
Researchers used observations from 11 satellite’s that monitor Greenland and Antarctica ice loss to arrive at their disturbing conclusion. They calculate that the meltwater has raised global sea level by .7 inches. This doesn’t sound like much, but it can have a significant effect on coastal populations. “Every centimeter of sea level rise leads to coastal flooding and coastal erosion, disrupting people’s lives around the planet,” said Prof. Andrew Shepherd, a scientist at the University of Leeds.
Ice melt isn’t the only factor fueling sea level rise. Ocean heating and expansion and the melting of smaller land-based glaciers also contribute to higher seas.