Washington: Climate change is causing Greenland`s massive ice sheets to melt much faster than previously thought, a new study has found, adding that it may be "too late" to do anything about it.
According to the study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the findings could have dire implications for the planet`s low lying islands and coastal cities, reports CNN. Eight of the 10 largest cities in the world are near coasts, and 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the planet`s population live in areas vulnerable to rising seas, it said.
Michael Bevis, a professor of geodynamics at The Ohio State University and the lead author of the study, said the research found that humanity may have passed the point of no return when it comes to combating climate change.
"The only thing we can do is adapt and mitigate further global warming... It`s too late for there to be no effect," said Bevis. "This is going to cause additional sea level rise. We are watching the ice sheet hit a tipping point."
Greenland`s ice has historically melted in cycles due to natural weather phenomena, but rising temperatures have exacerbated the trend, said Bevis. Bevis and his co-authors found that by 2012, the rate of ice loss had accelerated to nearly four times what it was in 2003. They also found this acceleration largely took place in Greenland`s southwest.
Researchers studying sea level rise often focus on Greenland`s southeast and northwest regions, home to large glaciers which see large icebergs break off and flow into the Atlantic Ocean, CNN reported. Those chunks then melt and cause sea levels to rise.
A study published last month in the scientific journal Nature found that Greenland`s ice sheets, which contain enough water to raise global sea levels by 23 feet -- have been melting at an "unprecedented" rate, 50 per cent higher than pre-industrial levels and 33 per cent above 20th-century levels.