Since July 27, approximately 9.37 billion tonnes (8.5 billion metric tonnes) of ice have been lost per day on the surface of the enormous ice sheet, double its normal average rate of loss in summer. , Polar portal, reported a Danish site managed by arctic climate researchers. The huge loss comes after temperatures in northern Greenland soared above 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), which is double the summer average, the The Danish Meteorological Institute reported. The high temperatures of July 28 caused the third largest single-day ice loss in Greenland since 1950; the second and first largest day-long losses occurred in 2012 and 2019. Greenland’s annual ice loss began in 1990. In recent years, it has accelerated to about four times previous levels. 2000.
A report: Melting images: the Earth’s ice disappearing
Even though the amount of ice that melted during this summer’s event was less than two years ago, in some ways it could be worse.
“Although not as extreme as in 2019 in terms of gigatons, the area over which the melting takes place is even a little larger than two years ago,” the Polar Portal researchers explain. written in a tweet.
Global sea level would rise by about 6 meters (20 feet) if all of Greenland’s ice melted, US estimate National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
Xavier Fettweis, climatologist at the University of Liège, Belgium, estimated that about 24 billion tonnes (22 billion metric tonnes) of ice melted from the Greenland ice sheet on July 28, with 13 billion tonnes ( 12 billion metric tons) en route in the ocean. It tweeted that the remaining 11 billion tonnes (10 billion metric tonnes) of melted ice was reabsorbed “by the snowpack thanks to recent heavy snowfall”.
Fettweis attributes the cause of the accelerated melting of the day to an atmospheric event, called a high pressure, over the continent. High pressure areas are regions of high pressure that allow the air they contain to flow, warming up in the summer and creating conditions where hot weather can linger in an area for a long time.
Greenland’s melt season generally runs from June to early September. This year’s melt season has already seen more than 110 billion tonnes (100 billion metric tonnes) of ice melt in the ocean, according to Danish government data.
The Greenland ice sheet is the only permanent ice sheet on Earth outside of Antarctica and is about three times the size of Texas, with an area of approximately 656,000 square miles (1.7 million square kilometers). , according to the NSIDC.
The Greenland and Antarctic ice caps account for 99% of the Earth’s freshwater supply, according to the NSIDC, but both have lost mass at an accelerating rate due to climate change. The leaves have lost a total of 7 trillion tonnes (6.4 trillion metric tonnes) of ice since 1994, according to a study published in January 2021 in the journal The Cryosphere.
Greenland’s trend of accelerated melting is a trend that scientists are seeing in other icy regions around the world. Between 2000 and 2019, Earth’s glaciers lost an average of 293.7 billion tonnes (266 billion metric tonnes) of mass per year, representing 21% of the sea level rise observed over the course of this period, Live Science previously reported. Another study estimated that the Earth is losing enough ice each year to cover a frozen area the size of Lake Superior, Live Science previously reported.
Originally posted on Live Science.