The “massive melting event” poses a new threat to Greenland’s vast ice cover. Last week, one day enough ice covered the entire state of Florida by 5 cm, according to Danish researchers.
What is happening in Greenland?
As of July 27, 9.37 billion tonnes of ice melt daily from the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet, more than double the average melting rate, according to Polar Portal, a Danish news site on climate and ice monitoring.
On July 28, the third largest one-day ice loss since Greenland was recorded. The first and second place are occupied by one-day melting events in 2019 and 2012. The accelerated annual melting of Greenland ice began in 1990. In the last few years, the annual ice loss has nearly quadrupled compared to 2000 data.
It is true that the amount of ice lost this summer is less than in 2019, however this year’s events may turn out to be even worse in some ways.
“While according to the gigatons, this year’s event is no better than the amount of ice loss in 2019, the surface area where the melting process is taking place is even larger than it was two years ago,” Polar Portal added.
If the Greenland ice sheet melts, global sea levels will rise by 6 meters, according to the US National Snow and Ice Information Center (NSIDC).
Causes of massive melting
The Danish Meteorological Institute reports that the main cause of this event is the abnormally high temperatures observed recently. Temperatures in Greenland reach 20o degrees, which is twice the average.
Javier Fatwais, a climate scientist at the University of Liege in Belgium, estimates that 24 billion tonnes of ice have been deposited since July 28, of which 13 billion tonnes have been dumped into the ocean. He said the remaining 11 billion tonnes of melted ice “thanks to recent heavy snowfall, the ice cover has been absorbed back.”
The importance of Greenland and the consequences of ice melting
The Greenland melting season runs from June to early September. According to the Danish government, 110 billion tons of melted ice have been spilled into the ocean this year.
The Greenland ice sheet is the only permanent ice body on Earth other than Antarctica and covers an area of 1.7 million square kilometers (NSIDC).
Greenland and Antarctica make up 99% of the Earth’s drinking water supply, but due to climate change, ice-stored stock melts and flows into the ocean.
The melting trend of Greenland is also observed in other icy regions of the world. Between 2000 and 2019, the Earth’s glaciers lost about 293.7 billion tons of mass annually, causing a 21% increase in sea level during that time. According to another study, the earth loses enough ice each year to cover the surface of the second largest, upper lake in the world.