Greenland’s vast ice sheets are melting away at an alarming rate, according to a recent report. As reported by the Danish government, the ice sheet lost 8.5 billion tons of surface mass on Tuesday alone. On Thursday, another 8.4 billion tons were lost thanks to high temperatures.
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The melting experienced on Tuesday released enough water to cover the entire state of Florida in two inches of water. This meltdown has caused concern, as continued large-scale melting of Greenland’s ice could lead to flooding in coastal cities worldwide.
While speaking to the Guardian, Marco Tedesco, a glacier expert at Columbia University, said that the current melting rate will likely accelerate future ice melting. “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.”
Currently, Greenland is experiencing record temperatures, with a reading of 19.8 degrees Celcius (roughly 67 degrees Fahrenheit) recorded last Wednesday. Although it is normal for the region to experience warmer temperatures this time of year, this year’s temperatures have been a notch higher. The high temperatures led to the melting of seasonal ice, exposing darker core ice, which is also melting.
“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,” Tedesco said. Tedesco adds that the current atmospheric events, while normal, are becoming longer and frequent.
Greenland warms up when high pressure sucks warm air from further south and holds it over parts of the country. Usually, Greenland’s melting season starts in June and runs to August. According to recent data released by the Danish government, more than 100 billion tons of ice have been lost since June this year. While this year’s ice melt is less than that experienced in 2019, when 11 billion tons of ice were lost in a single day, the area affected is much bigger. The prolonged season is also a major concern.
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