Greenland’s ice sheet, the world’s second-largest ice body, is likely on a one-way journey towards extinction.
Reason For The Phenomenon
Rising temperatures make glaciers melt around the planet, and Greenland’s ice sheet could be past the point of no return, scientists suggest.
Greenland’s glaciers lost so much water that the annual snowfall can’t cover the losses, a study from the journal Communications Earth & Environment from last week suggests.
According to researchers, even if we take control of climate change today, the ice sheet will still melt away, with catastrophic consequences.
Michalea King, lead author of the paper and researchers at Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, stated:
“We’ve been looking at these remote sensing observations to study how ice discharge and accumulation have varied.”
“What we’ve found is that the ice that’s discharging into the ocean is far surpassing the snow that’s accumulating on the surface of the ice sheet,” King added.
Her and the university’s researchers analyzed decades’ worth of satellite imagery and data from over 200 glaciers across Greenland’s ice sheet.
Greenland’s ice sheet is so important to us because it is the “largest single contributor to rising sea levels” because of its accelerating melt, the study says.
The researchers discovered that the ice layer remained somewhat stable throughout the 80s and 90s, and melting started accelerating around the year 2000.
Over the last ten years, the glaciers lost more ice during the year’s warm months (500 gigatons yearly) than what the snowfall could restore.
“Glaciers have been sensitive to seasonal melt for as long as we’ve been able to observe it, with spikes in ice discharge in the summer,” King said.