Greenland hit a tragic record of ice loss during an extra warm 2019. A new study unveils that the melt was massive enough to cover California in more than 1.25 meters of water.
Last year’s Greenland melt brought 1.5 millimeters to global sea-level rise. It might seem like a tiny amount, but it’s actually huge in researchers’ world. And if we add in more water from melting in other glaciers and ice layers, along with an ocean that grows as it warms, it translates into a slow expanding coastal flooding, sea levels, and more.
The new study’s findings and results are truly unfortunate. Here is what you need to know.
Greenland’s Tragic Ice Loss Investigated
The general ice melt records of Greenland date back to 1948, but researchers had accurate records on how much ice melts since 2003. And such a thing is possible thanks to NASA satellites that measure the ice sheets and the gravity.
After two years, when summer ice melt had been low, the summer of 2019 brought an immense ice loss for Greenland, 586 billion tons, according to satellite measurements. The results are far more than the annual average loss of 259 billion tons since 2003. It slightly surpasses the previous record of 511 billion tons in 2012.
“Not only is the Greenland ice sheet melting, but it’s melting at a faster pace,” explained Ingo Sasgen, a geoscientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, and the study lead.
As massive as the ice melt was in 2019, the two years before were only average, approximately 108 billion tons. Such a result shows that there’s a second factor dubbed the Greenland blocking, which either dampens-related melting or supercharges.
This year, Greenland’s summer melt has been not as dramatic as 2019. It was closer to average in recent times. But the fact that last year set such a tragic ice loss record is very concerning.
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