Greenland ice that melted over the weekend could cover West Virginia with a foot of water

Several days of unusually warm weather in northern Greenland have caused rapid melting, as evidenced by rivers of meltwater rushing into the ocean. Temperatures are around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, 10 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year, scientists told CNN.

According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, the amount of ice that melted in Greenland between July 15 and July 17 alone — 6 billion tons of water per day — would be enough to fill 7.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools. .

In other words, it was enough to cover the entire state of West Virginia with a foot of water.

“Thaw in the north last week is not normal when you look at 30 to 40 year averages of climate,” said Ted Scambos, senior scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado. “But the melt increased, and this event became a burst of melt.”

For scientists on the ice sheet, the heat was unsettling.

“It definitely worries me,” said Kutalmis Sailam, a research fellow at the University of Texas, who is currently based in Greenland. “Yesterday we could walk around in our T-shirts – we didn’t expect that.”

Every summer, scientists fear they will see a repeat of the record-breaking melt that occurred in 2019, when 532 billion tons of ice flowed into the sea. An unexpectedly hot spring and July heat that year caused almost the entire surface of the ice sheet to melt. As a result, global sea levels have consistently risen by 1.5 millimetres.
There is enough ice in Greenland – if all of it melts – to raise the world’s sea level by 7.5 meters.
Sea ice forms when pieces of the Greenland ice sheet break off and drain into the ocean.

Recent studies point to an increasingly dangerous situation on the northern hemisphere’s most icy island.

A study published in February found that there is an “unprecedented” melting rate at the bottom of the Greenland Ice Sheet, caused by massive amounts of meltwater flowing from the surface. This water is especially dangerous because it can destabilize the cover above it and lead to massive and rapid loss of ice.
And in 2020, scientists discovered that the Greenland ice sheet had melted beyond the line of no return. No effort to prevent global warming can stop it in the long run, say Ohio State University researchers. Another study found that the melting rate in recent years exceeds anything Greenland has experienced in the last 12,000 years, enough to cause measurable changes in the gravitational field over Greenland.
Seal on the sea ice.

At the East Greenland Ice Core Research Camp, or EastGRIP, in northwest Greenland, scientists’ work to understand the effects of climate change is being hindered by climate change itself.

Aslak Grinstead, a climate scientist at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute, told CNN they were trying to send planes to the camp to send newly collected ice cores. But the heat will destabilize the landing site.

“The temperature we’re seeing right now is simply too hot for planes with skis to land,” Grinstead said. “So we store the ice cores in large artificial caves that we made in the snow to protect them from the summer heat.”

Scientists take advantage of the heat wave as they wait while playing volleyball in shorts on an ice sheet at the top of the world.

Before human-induced climate change happened, temperatures around 32 degrees Fahrenheit were unheard of. But since the 1980s, the region has warmed by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit per decade — four times faster than the global rate — raising the possibility that temperatures will break the melt threshold.

Grinstead called the temperature at the EastGRIP research site a “heat wave” and noted that global warming is more likely to increase the mercury column.

“Yes, the likelihood of temperatures getting this high is clearly related to global warming,” Grinstead said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *