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    Greenland’s ice sheet lost some 166 billion tonnes in 12-months

    EnvironmentClimate changeGreenland's ice sheet lost some 166 billion tonnes in...
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    Greenland’s ice sheet lost some 166 billion tonnes in 12-months

    It is now raining in a place that saw only snowfall. Though this is happening in another far corner of the earth, the shrinking of the ice sheets is an evidence of global warming and climate change and is a matter of concern.

    The latest report on the Polar Portal portrays a grim situation. The cyber observatory run by Danish research institutions engaged in monitoring Greenland’s ice sheet and the sea ice in the Arctic say that the past quarter century has been particularly dreary.

    “2021 is the twenty-fifth year in a row in which Greenland’s ice sheet lost more mass during the course of the melting season than it gained during the winter,” the latest report from the portal says.

    The report explains that while the early part of the summer was cold and wet with unusually heavy and late snowfall in June, delaying the onset of the melting season, the month of July saw a heatwave that “led to a considerable loss of ice.”

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    In a 12-month period ending August 2021, the Greenland Ice Sheet lost about 166 billion tonnes of ice, says the report compiled by the scientists. That has been close to the annual average since the mid-1980s. Overall, in the 25 years between September 1986 and August 2021, Greenland has lost about 5,500 billion tonnes of its ice sheet. This has in turn, contributed to 1.5 cm to the average global rise in sea levels of about 12 cm.

    The report explains unusual weather during the 2021 Arctic summer, extreme melting periods despite average temperatures, and sea ice dropping to its second-lowest level last July.

    Notably, the report says, “precipitation at Summit Station, which is located at the ‘top’ of the ice sheet at an altitude of 3,200 meters above sea level, was registered in the form of rain.”

    When the rain was recorded in August, the US National Snow and Ice Data Center noted that “there is no previous report of rainfall at this location (72.58°N 38.46°W), which reaches 3,216 meters (10,551 feet) in elevation.”

    Reiterating previous research

    This paper comes on the heels after another research from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research that “found evidence that the central-western part of the Greenland ice sheet has been destabilizing and is now close to a critical transition.”

    “We’re at the brink, and every year with CO2 emissions continuing as usual exponentially increases the probability of crossing the tipping point,” the researchers warned. “Our results suggest there will be substantially enhanced melting in the near future, which is worrying,” the scientists concluded.

    Another previous observation on Arctic rainfall reported in November by scientists says, “The fact that we’re getting rainfall on the summit of Greenland right now, and that we’re maybe going to get more rainfall into the future—it kind of staggers me,” she said.

    Researchers say that “the transition from a snow- to rain-dominated Arctic in the summer and autumn is projected to occur decades earlier and at a lower level of global warming, potentially under 1.5°C, with profound climatic, ecosystem, and socioeconomic impacts.”

    This report follows on an earlier piece on OWSA on the World Meteorological Organisation recognising the record increase of temperature in the Arctic.

     

    Image obtained from the Nordic Co-operation website (norden.org); http://www.norden.org/en/news-and-events/images/places/greenland/groenland-1/view
    Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Denmark.

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