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SOURCE: Inside Climate News

DATE: December 7, 2016

SNIP: Greenland rocks now buried under 10,000 feet of ice were ice-free for long stretches during the past 1.4 million years, leading scientists to conclude the Greenland Ice Sheet could melt more suddenly than previously believed.

That could raise global sea level far beyond current projections over the next few centuries, including past recent estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The research challenges the prevailing idea that the ice sheet remained relatively intact during the recent geological past, showing even the thickest ice had vanished during warm periods between ice ages.

Although a couple of centuries to a couple of millennia are the fastest meltdown scenarios, according to Florian Ziemen, a climate modeler with the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, the new study’s findings could have implications on for the next 50 to 100 years. Along with raising sea level more quickly than anticipated, cold water from melting Greenland ice could affect Atlantic Ocean currents that regulate the climate in the Northern Hemisphere, he added.