GREENLAND — Ice melting from Greenland's ice sheets may cause a rapid increase in sea levels.
It's no surprise that humankind is running against the climate-change clock, but dire changes may come sooner than expected.
Ice sheets in Greenland are melting at an unprecedented rate.
The most comprehensive study of the subject ever has found levels of meltwater from the Arctic island are 50 percent higher than during pre-industrial levels.
According to a paper published in the journal Nature, researchers extracted ice core data in order to examine rates of surface melt and run-off in Greenland.
Ice cores are long tubes of ice and snow samples drilled from an ice-sheet or glacier.
Each layer contains key climate information including changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and climate stability.
The data examined goes back 339 years.
The first signs of meltwater date back to the mid-1800s, coinciding with the beginning of the industrial revolution."
Data from the research revealed Greenland's ice sheets are melting more quickly than they ever have in the last 350 years.
According to data from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, meltwater from Greenland contributes to roughly 20 percent of the world's sea-level rise.
If all the ice in Greenland melted, sea levels would rise by seven meters.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that global sea levels are rising at an increasing rate.
At the moment, sea levels are rising at a rate of 0.32 centimeters per year.