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科学美国人60秒:格陵兰岛融化速度加快

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Greenland Is Melting Faster Than Any Time in Past 12.000 Years

格陵兰岛的融化速度比过去12000年的任何时候都要快

Greenland is the biggest island in the world. And the ice sheet that sits atop it is massive.

格陵兰是世界上最大的岛屿。它上面的冰原是巨大的。

“The pile of ice is so thick, it extends more than 10.000 feet above the ocean. And if all that ice were to melt and go into the ocean, global sea levels would rise by 24 feet everywhere around the world.”

“这堆冰太厚了,在海面上延伸了一万多英尺。如果所有的冰融化进入海洋,全球海平面将上升24英尺。”

Jason Briner, a geologist at the University at Buffalo. The ice sheet is melting, of course. But just how much, compared to the past?

布法罗大学的地质学家杰森·布里纳说。当然,冰盖正在融化。但与过去相比,究竟有多少呢?

Briner’s team did a computer simulation of the southwest portion of the Greenland ice sheet—which he says is a good proxy for ice melt across the entire ice sheet. The researchers plugged past climate data into that model to “hindcast,” rather than forecast, the past activity of the ice sheet. They then checked the model’s predictions of the past shape and size of the ice sheet by looking at piles of rocks and boulders and dirt on Greenland today, which outline the edges of ancient ice. And the simulation was in good agreement with the actual situation.

布里纳的团队对格陵兰岛冰原的西南部分进行了计算机模拟,他说这是整个冰原冰融化的一个很好的代表。研究人员将过去的气候数据输入到这个模型中,以对冰盖过去的活动进行“预测”,而不是预测。然后,他们通过观察现今格陵兰岛上堆积的岩石、卵石和泥土来检验模型对冰盖过去形状和大小的预测,这些岩石、卵石和泥土勾勒出了古代冰的边缘。仿真结果与实际情况吻合较好。

Using that reconstruction of the ice sheet over time, the team could compare the ice sheet’s historic losses to those happening today under human-caused global warming. And they determined that Greenland is on track to lose more ice this century than during any century in the past 12.000 years—possibly four times as much.The results appear in the journal Nature.

通过对冰原随时间的重建,研究小组可以将历史上的冰原损失与今天人类造成的全球变暖造成的损失进行比较。他们还确定,格陵兰岛在本世纪失去的冰比过去12000年的任何一个世纪都要多——可能是四倍。研究结果发表在《自然》杂志上。

Ultimately it’s up to us how much ice actually melts.“Humanity has the knob—the carbon knob—and that knob is going to influence the rates of ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet.”

If the world goes net carbon zero by 2100. for example, Briner says ice loss could stop entirely at the end of the century, according to one model.“That was what kept me from being completely depressed about our study.”Dozens of countries have already announced goals to go net zero by the middle of this century—so far the U.S. is not one of them.

最终,有多少冰会融化取决于我们自己。“人类有‘碳’这个‘旋钮’,而这个‘旋钮’将会影响格陵兰冰盖的冰流失速度。例如,根据一种模型,如果世界到2100年实现碳净零,布里纳说,冰的流失可能在本世纪末完全停止。“这让我没有对我们的学习完全感到沮丧。几十个国家已经宣布了到本世纪中叶实现零碳排放的目标——到目前为止,美国不在其中。

Greenland Is Melting Faster Than Any Time in Past 12.000 Years

Greenland is the biggest island in the world. And the ice sheet that sits atop it is massive.

“The pile of ice is so thick, it extends more than 10.000 feet above the ocean. And if all that ice were to melt and go into the ocean, global sea levels would rise by 24 feet everywhere around the world.”

Jason Briner, a geologist at the University at Buffalo. The ice sheet is melting, of course. But just how much, compared to the past?

Briner’s team did a computer simulation of the southwest portion of the Greenland ice sheet—which he says is a good proxy for ice melt across the entire ice sheet. The researchers plugged past climate data into that model to “hindcast,” rather than forecast, the past activity of the ice sheet. They then checked the model’s predictions of the past shape and size of the ice sheet by looking at piles of rocks and boulders and dirt on Greenland today, which outline the edges of ancient ice. And the simulation was in good agreement with the actual situation.

Using that reconstruction of the ice sheet over time, the team could compare the ice sheet’s historic losses to those happening today under human-caused global warming. And they determined that Greenland is on track to lose more ice this century than during any century in the past 12.000 years—possibly four times as much.The results appear in the journal Nature.

Ultimately it’s up to us how much ice actually melts.“Humanity has the knob—the carbon knob—and that knob is going to influence the rates of ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet.”

If the world goes net carbon zero by 2100. for example, Briner says ice loss could stop entirely at the end of the century, according to one model.“That was what kept me from being completely depressed about our study.”Dozens of countries have already announced goals to go net zero by the middle of this century—so far the U.S. is not one of them.


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