A team of scientists say they have created a new data model to determine the amount of ice melt that may result from increased temperatures related to global warming.
Using data from a pair of NASA satellite, the team say they have established a more accurate portrait of just how much ice will melt and how high the seas will rise.
John Wahr of the University of Colorado in Boulder and colleagues, in a study published on Thursday, found that thinning glaciers and icecaps were pushing up sea levels by nearly .06 inches per year. The estimate is in line with other predictions that note ocean levels could rise by 6 feet by 2100.
Sea levels have already risen on average about 7 inches since 1900 and increased global warming is likely accelerate the rate of the increase, scientists say. The increase could threaten the coasts of Florida and Louisiana, along with island nations, including the Maldives.
While the predictions from the latest study are aligned with recent findings, previous studies relied on physical measurements of ice caps and glaciers on the ground. The latest research, with its reliance on satellite data, identified the greatest culprits for increased ice melt. The study finds that Mountain glaciers in Asia in particular are having a much smaller effect than thought. The team also sought to exclude the huge ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica, noting that they have already been studied extensively in the recent years.
Researchers said the new study will help to understand the effect of climate change on the billions of people living in areas relying on melt ice and help to understand the long term effect on sea level rise. The team leaders also noted that global warming and the increased amount of ice melt could impact large portions of the U.S., some of which are currently facing drought conditions.
“The total amount of ice lost to Earth’s oceans from 2003 to 2010 would cover the entire United States in about one and one-half feet of water,” said Mr. Wahr.
“Our results and those of everyone else show we are losing a huge amount of water into the oceans every year,” Mr. Wahr added. “People should be just as worried about the melting of the world’s ice as they were before.”