Greenland Lost Enough Ice in a Single Day to Cover Florida

Icebergs floating as the sun rises near Kulusuk, Greenland.

Icebergs floating because the solar rises close to Kulusuk, Greenland.
Photo: Felipe Dana (AP)

It’s been a minute since we’ve checked in on Greenland. Let’s see what’s… oh, oh no. The ice sheet masking the island went into a main meltdown final week, and it’s ongoing as we converse. Enough ice melted in one single day to cowl Florida in 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) of water.

The single-day injury occurred final Wednesday, in accordance to information from the Danish government-funded Polar Portal. The remainder of the week wasn’t so nice for Greenland both: Tuesday noticed the ice sheet lose 8.5 billion tons of floor mass, whereas Thursday logged 8.4 billion tons of ice. The price of soften that occurred final week is round twice the common tempo of soften for the ice sheet in the course of the summer season.

A current warmth wave (comparatively talking, anyway) noticed temperatures spike to 68 levels Fahrenheit (20 levels Celsius)—round twice the common summer season temperature. Nerlerit Inaat airport, which is in the northeastern a part of the island, final week logged a temperature of 74.1 levels Fahrenheit (23.4 levels Celsius), its highest-ever recorded temperature. Persistent excessive stress has sat over Greenland, locking in largely sunny skies. All informed, Polar Portal information reveals that roughly two-thirds of the 656,000-square-mile (1.7-million-square-kilometer) ice sheet is experiencing some type of soften.

The soften might feed into a suggestions loop that spells dangerous information for Greenland’s ice—and coasts that depend upon it staying ice. As pure white ice and snow soften, it might expose darker floor or ice beneath, which absorbs extra warmth and will additional soften the ice sheet.

“It’s a very high level of melting and it will probably change the face of Greenland, because it will be a very strong driver for an acceleration of future melting, and therefore sea level rise,” Marco Tedesco, a glacier skilled at Columbia University and adjunct scientist at NASA, told the Guardian. “We had these sort of atmospheric events in the past but they are now getting longer and more frequent. The snow is like a protective blanket so once that’s gone you get locked into faster and faster melting, so who knows what will happen with the melting now. It’s amazing to see how vulnerable these huge, giant areas of ice are. I’m astonished at how powerful the forces acting on them are.”

In the summer of 2019, Greenland’s soften actually obtained going, shedding 197 billion tons of ice in July alone. In a single day late that month, the ice sheet melted 12.5 billion tons of water. The soften was, no shock, triggered by hovering temperatures that summer season, which spiked between 18 to 36 levels Fahrenheit (10 to 20 levels Celsius) above regular. Overall that yr, the island shed about 532 billion tons from its ice sheet, the biggest loss in a single yr since record-keeping started in 1948. For context, that’s sufficient to cowl all of California in a jaw-dropping 4 ft (1.2 meters) of water. A study of the record melt led by Tedesco discovered that prime stress additionally contributed to the meltdown by protecting skies largely cloud-free.

While summer season 2019 noticed essentially the most mass soften away, this week’s soften is going on throughout a wider floor space. Either manner, soften superlatives aren’t excellent news and are indicative of a greater sample on the island. Scientists have proven that melting this century is pushing the boundaries of historic ice loss. Greenland’s soften mixed with ice loss in Antarctica has, because the late Nineteen Nineties, already contributed to 0.7 inches (1.8 centimeters) of sea stage rise. A mindboggling 7.1 trillion tons (6.4 trillion tonnes) of ice has turned to water over that interval.

And all this melting is… not nice for our long-term outlook. Greenland’s ice sheet comprises sufficient water that, if it melted, would elevate sea ranges 23 ft (7 meters). Research published in 2019, throughout that summer season’s large soften occasion, forecast that all the ice in the sheet might soften by the yr 3000 if we maintain our emissions on the identical stage as at this time. That date could appear far in the long run, nevertheless it’s a lot of ice at stake. Within our youngsters’ lifetimes, the identical research predicts that Greenland’s soften might trigger sea ranges to rise between six inches and a foot (.15 to .3 meters) by 2100 if we don’t do something, to say nothing of what occurs in Antarctica and different ice on land. The outlook isn’t exactly great on those fronts either.

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