What would happen if Greenland melted?
In essence, the sea levels would rise by approximately 7 metres which would be disastrous for coastlines everywhere. Not to mention the effect of dumping huge quantities of cold water into the North Atlantic drift which could have a dramatic effect on the temperatures in the British Isles – removing the warming effect of the current and bringing colder, longer winters and a lower year-round average temperature.
Previous estimates suggest that the sea levels would rise between 20 and 60 centimetres this century, but with the rapidly increasing disintegration and melting of Greenland’s ice, this estimate is too low and the rise could be as high as 2 metres.
Assuming this melting remains constant, we have nearly 100 years to plan and implement defences for such a rise. However, given the exponential rise in melting and dramatic, unexpected shifts in the behaviour of the ice fields, we may not have as much time as even the revised estimates suggest.
My view would be to plan and implement early, just in case. There’s too much happening in the climate world these days to be sure of anything and predictability is one thing that seems to be strongly lacking; scientists are agreed that climate models are too vague and inaccurate, but have little to fill the holes they leave aside from “best guess”.
I hope my “best guess” is wrong …