To understand how this melting ice will impact sea levels around the world, scientists use computer models of ice flow and complex climate interactions. According to the authors of this new study, this approach has shortcomings in that they are imprecise and don't account for a number of factors scientists are observing in the field. These include more rain that is accelerating the melting of surface ice, an influx of tropical ocean currents into Greenland's fjords, and the darkening of the sheet surface that causes it to absorb more heat.
"We’re observing many emerging processes that the models don’t account for that increase the ice sheet’s vulnerability," study author Alun Hubbard, Professor of Glaciology at University of Tromsø, writes in an accompanying piece for The Conversation.
So if we change shorten the average from 40 years to 20 years and then linearly project that higher number forward, we get a headline grabbing doomsday prediction.
The problem with making such bombastic predictions is the capacity of the general population to sustain a feeling of terror is not infinite. Eventually people settle down into a fatalistic emotional state where they just don’t care anymore. Sea levels rising 10 inches by 2100 is not going to put food on the table today.
It surprises me that there is still no widespread acceptance that improving living standards are the solution to just about every social or environmental problem.
When people are better educated and have solid working conditions, they have more regard for luxuries like a safe, clean environment. Take care of people and everything else takes care of itself.