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Warming Means More Ice

Year:1991 Issue:1

Column: WORLD


Release Date:1991-01-20

Page: 47

Full Text:  

Global warming should add to the ice in Antarctica rather than make it melt, but world sea levels are still expected to rise by up to one metre over the next century, United Nations experts said at a UN panel of scientists.

The experts say it is so cold in Antarctica that it cannot snow much, so warmer temperatures will allow more snow to fall and be pressed into ice.

Scientists also concluded that the Greenland ice sheet and glaciers in the northern polar region would start to shrink.

Despite an increase in snowfall in Greenland, the summer melt would be bigger than in Antartica because of the island’s lower latitude, lower average altitude and longer coastline.

The working group said that the shrinkage of the Greenland ice cap, together with an expansion of the oceans due to warming, would still lead to higher sea levels and the potential flooding of coastal lowlands.

Melting glaciers elsewhere would cause about 40 percent of the expected rise in sea levels and the expansion of seawater due to higher temperatures would account for the rest.

The panel said that unless action was taken to curb the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, the seas would rise by between 30 centimetres and one metre by 2100.

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