Greenland: Heatwave causes ‘massive melting event’

05 Aug, 2021

The Greenland ice sheet experienced a "massive melting event", releasing enough mass "to cover Florida with 5 centimeters of water" according to Danish government researchers who monitor the ice sheet.

The researchers, who post the results of their monitoring on the website Polar Portal, said the melting event on Wednesday was the third-largest single day loss of ice in Greenland since 1950 — with the others happening in 2012 and 2019.

Although the 2019 event was larger by volume, researchers say Wednesday's event affected a bigger area.

The Danish Meteorological Institute is currently reporting summer temperatures exceeding 20 degrees Celsius in northern Greenland — twice the summer average. On Thursday, thermometers in the region hit 23.4 degrees Celsius.

Scientists are concerned that if atmospheric patterns continue to trap ever warmer air, it may lead to an amplified feedback loop that accelerate further melting.|

Researchers say the ice sheet began losing mass in 1990, and that shrinkage has accelerated since 2000. They also noted that the mass loss in recent years is approximately four times greater than it was before 2000.

Greenland is the second largest mass of fresh water on the planet — the Greenland ice sheet and Antarctica contain 70% of the world's fresh water. Scientists estimate global sea levels could rise between 6 and 7 meters if the sheet were to melt entirely.

Source: Deutsche Welle

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