Greenland ice could be next puzzle for UN

A thaw of Greenland ice that could raise world sea levels may be the next puzzle for the UN climate panel that won the Nobel Peace Prize, a senior member of the group said.

Greenland ice could be next puzzle for UN
Dutch scientist Bert Metz said the risk of an accelerating melt of Greenland's ice sheet was among the unsolved issues in the UN reports this year that blame mankind for causing global warming and urge quick action to avert the worst impacts.

'There are still questions about the behaviour of the big ice sheets, like Greenland, and the consequences of sea level rise,' he said on the sidelines of a 190-nation UN climate conference in Bali, Indonesia.

Recent studies suggested risks that vast chunks of ice could slip into the sea instead of a slow melt of surface ice tied to global warming. It was not clear how remote those risks were.

'On that issue it would be feasible I think to do a report in a couple of years' if governments agreed, Metz said.

Greenland stores enough ice to raise world sea levels by about 7 metres (23 ft) if it all melted, perhaps over thousands of years, swamping many coastal cities and Pacific islands.

Governments are considering whether to launch a new round of studies of global warming by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), perhaps for release around 2013. This year's overview reports followed ones in 2001 and 1995.

'There are voices that say we should postpone (a global overview) a bit and in the meantime do more focused special reports,' said Metz, who will be among 25 experts from the panel in Oslo next week to collect the Nobel Peace Prize on Dec. 10.

The behaviour of ice sheets was a main candidate for a special report, along with one already likely about renewable energies, he said. Arctic summer ice this year thawed to the smallest since satellite records began in the 1970s.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Aralık 2007, 15:36