Greenland is currently experiencing one of its most extreme melting events in history.
The country, which makes up the second-biggest ice sheet on Earth, second to Antarctica, is currently seeing more than 12 billion tonnes of ice melting in just one day, Mashable reports.
The melting event is similar to a historic melting episode in 2012, thought to be a result of the roasting Europe air which has settled over the Arctic region.
Josh Willis, a NASA scientist who researches Greenland’s melting glaciers, told Mashable:
It’s no surprise that Greenland keeps setting records for melt and high temperatures.
The entire planet is getting warmer, but the Arctic is warming faster than every place else.
Zack Labe, a climate scientist from the University of California added that climate models from the 1970s predicted this accelerated warming in the Arctic that we’re currently seeing.
He says more major melting events are to be expected:
This [warming] is projected to continue without a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
According to data from the Danish Meteorological Institute, more than half the ice sheet experienced melting on July 31, with a loss of more than 10 billion metric tonnes of ice from the surface.
Despite this melting event being just one extreme episode, Greenland’s long-term melting trends are already becoming clear. Melting has accelerated in Greenland for the last 20 years and recent research suggests this rate of melting could at its fastest for thousands of years.
This is a roaring glacial melt, under the bridge to Kangerlussiauq, Greenland where it's 22C today and Danish officials say 12 billions tons of ice melted in 24 hours, yesterday. pic.twitter.com/Rl2odG4xWj
— Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) August 1, 2019
Greenland has had more ice melt than the yearly snowfall can replace since at least the 1990s. And this warm spell is consistent with that trend.
While it is important to note that not every year will feature record warmth or loss of land/sea ice, the long-term trends are clear.
And, it’s not just Greenland seeing unprecedented melting. Extreme warming trends are now being seen all over the Arctic with sea ice in the region currently at its lowest level on record for hundreds of years.
We are watching these huge ice sheets shrink every year now, and there is no sign of that stopping any time soon.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.