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Greenland’s ice sheet could disappear within the next 1,000 years if global warming continues at its present rate, according to research in this week’s Nature.
Scientists have previously calculated that if the annual average temperature in Greenland increases by more than about 3°C, then the Greenland ice sheet will disappear. This would raise the global average sea level by seven metres over 1,000 years or more — and flood most of the world’s coastal regions.
Now, a new analysis by Jonathan Gregory of the University of Reading, United Kingdom and colleagues has found that, unless much greater reductions are made in emissions of greenhouse gases, within the next 350 years Greenland is likely to pass a threshold of warming beyond which the ice-sheet cannot be sustained.