Summer does not begin for two more days. However, oceanographers and climatologists already sounding the alarm about harmful ice melts happening now in Greenland, in line with the Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The vast island nation locks away enough fresh water in its ice sheet to raise global sea levels by 20 ft (6 meters), according to the NSIDC. It is Earth’s second-largest deposit of land-based ice after Antarctica. And researchers shows that recently, its ice has melted faster than ever before. This month, as temperatures in northwestern Greenland approach, is high, researchers are encountering unusual, surprising levels of melting the ice within the area, based on the AFP.
“There was a dry winter and then recently [there has been] hot air, clear skies, and sun — all preconditions for an early melting,” Ruth Mottram, a climatologist on the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), informed the AFP. Mottram and colleagues discovered that Greenland misplaced 4.1 billion tons (3.7 billion metric tons) of ice on June 17 alone and that 41 billion tons (37 billion metric tons) of ice have melted on the island since the start of the month.
The most significant concern here, in line with the AFP, is how early this all is happening. Greenland experiences annual ice soften and growth cycles (although usually, not like in recent times, they’ve roughly balanced one another out); however in 2019, the melting season started in early May. That is a month sooner than is typical and something that happened once before in the historical record, in 2016.
That means that not only is the ice melting very quick, but it also has extra time to soften this summer than it will in the climate system that wasn’t so unbalanced. Since 1972, Greenland has contributed about half an inch (1.4 centimeters) to sea-level rise. However, as humanity now pumps far more greenhouse gases into the air than at any time within the 20th century, that process is speeding up. Long melt seasons like this one seems to result in a lot better contributions to sea-level rise than in early period.
“It is possible that we may break the record set in 2012 for each lowest Arctic sea-ice extent … and for file excessive Greenland ice-sheet melt,” Mottram stated, as reported by the AFP.