The amount of ice lost in Greenland on Tuesday would cover Florida in 2 inches of water
Greenland ice sheet (east coast, view from plane). Hannes Grobe (CC BY-SA 2.5)
High temperatures in the Arctic are melting Greenland’s ice sheets so rapidly that the ice melt from Tuesday alone would be enough to cover the entire state of Florida in two inches of water.
On Tuesday, Greenland lost more than 8.5 billion tons of surface mass from ice melt. Taking it a step further, in total, Greenland has lost 18.4 billion tons of surface mass from ice melt since Sunday, according to CNN.
This is the third extreme melting event Greenland has experienced in the last decade – where the melting has extended farther inland than in the entire satellite era, which began in the 1970s, according to CTV News Canada.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that while the extreme melting is not quite as bad as it was in 2019, scientists are saying the area of land that is melting is larger this time around.
On June 13, 2019,
Over 40 percent of Greenland experienced melting, losing an estimated 2 gigatons (equal to 2 billion tons) on just that day alone.
“It’s a significant melt,” Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, told CNN.
“July 27th saw most of the eastern half of Greenland from the northern tip all the way to the southern tip mostly melted, which is unusual.”
As anthropogenic climate change has warmed the planet, ice loss has increased at a more rapid pace. According to a recent study published in the journal Cryosphere
, Earth has lost a staggering 28 trillion tons of ice since the mid-1990s, much of it in the Arctic, including the Greenland ice sheet.
“In the past decade, we’ve already seen that surface melting in Greenland has become both more severe and more erratic,” said Thomas Slater, a glaciologist at the University of Leeds and a co-author on that report, according to The Hill.
“As the atmosphere continues to warm over Greenland, events such as yesterday’s extreme melting will become more frequent.”
In a study published in the journal Nature
last year, researchers estimated that the rate of Greenland’s ice melt over the course of the 21st century will be between 8,000 gigatons and 35,900 gigatons tons per century, nearly six times faster than the early-Holocene era rate.
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