Extreme Melt Events Increase Sea Level Projections from the Greenland by 14%

The Cryosphere, 27 July 2023

A new process currently missing from climate models could increase sea level contributions from the Greenland Ice Sheet by up to 14% under our current high emissions pathway. Climate change increases the frequency of “anticyclones” (high-pressure systems) getting stuck over the Greenland Ice Sheet — leading to extreme melt events especially in summer, with near-24-hour strong sunlight given cloud-free conditions. Greenland has been subject to multiple extreme melt events in the past decade. For example, in 2012 a stationary area of high pressure over Greenland in July caused 98.6% of the ice sheet’s surface area to experience melt conditions, including the 3000-meter-high summit which typically remains well below freezing, invulnerable to melting even in summer. Today, observed ice losses from Greenland are already greater than even the worse-case projections of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR6) report. If today’s high emissions continue, this study indicates that sea-level rise from Greenland alone could reach 0.3 meters by 2100, and up to 3.7 meters by 2300.


By Amy Imdieke, Global Outreach Director, and Pam Pearson, Director of ICCI.
Published Aug. 15, 2023      Updated Aug. 15, 2023 4:18 pm