Press Releases

Global warming could lead to a greener Greenland – University of Reading

Release Date : 08 April 2004

Image of GreenlandResearch published in Nature suggests that enough greenhouse gases could be in the atmosphere as early as 2050 to melt the massive ice-sheet that covers Greenland. As a result, sea levels could rise by around seven metres over the next 1,000 years. Along with colleagues in Belgium and Germany, Dr Jonathan Gregory, of the Centre for Global Atmospheric Modelling (CGAM) at the University of Reading and the Met Office Hadley Centre, has estimated that Greenland is likely to pass a threshold of warming beyond which the ice sheet cannot be sustained unless much greater reductions are made in emissions of greenhouse gases. The researchers looked at how Greenland's temperature could change with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations over the next 350 years, and found that warming was likely to pass the critical threshold in 34 out of 35 model calculations. Greenland's average temperature only needs to increase by 3 degrees Celsius to melt its ice-sheet, but some of the modelling studies forecast an 8 degrees Celsius rise by the year 2350. "Without the ice-sheet, the climate of Greenland would be greatly altered," says Dr Gregory. "Unlike the ice on the Arctic Ocean, much of which melts and reforms each year, the Greenland ice-sheet might not re-grow even if the global climate were returned to pre-industrial conditions." End For further information, please contact Dr Jonathan Gregory on +44 (0)118 378 7376 or email: Alternatively, contact Craig Hillsley, Press Officer, University of Reading, on +44 (0)118 378 7388 or email: Notes for editors -The research was done in collaboration with Philippe Huybrechts, Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany, and the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, along with Sarah Raper, also at AWI. About CGAM CGAM carries out climate research and supports atmospheric scientists in the UK academic sector. It is fully integrated in the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology, the UK's premier department, which was again awarded the highest 5* rating in the latest Research Assessment Exercise.


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