Canada's glaciers are "headed for an irreversible melt"

Global sea water levels are set to rise

A new study published in the Geophysical Research Letters reaches the scary conclusion that about 20% of all the ice contained in Canada's glaciers - and there's a multitude of them all over the country's vast Northern area - could melt by the end of this century if global average temperatures increased by 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 F) and by 8 Celsius (14.4 F) in the Canadian Arctic. This alone would lead to an increase in sea levels by about 3.5 cm (1.4 inch).

Lead author Jan Lenaerts of the University of Utrecht told Reuters that the trend seemed unstoppable because a thaw of white glaciers would expose dark-colored tundra that would soak up more of the sun's heat and further accelerate the melt.

Past studies still foresaw a heavy melt, but it led to an increase in global sea levels of around 2 centimeters, not the 3.5 of this new, more precise study. That might not sound like much, but it's 75% more water than previously thought, and this is just for Canadian glaciers. Add to that other melting glaciers such as those in Greenland, Russia, South-America, etc... And well, things don't look good: "The U.N. panel of climate scientists has projected that world sea levels will rise by between 18 and 59 cm this century, or more if a thaw of vast ice sheets in Antarctica or Greenland accelerates."

september 2012 temperatures photoNOAA/Public Domain

Via Reuters

See also: Watch a City-Sized Glacier Collapse (Video)

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