A new study reported that last year, Greenland’s ice sheets saw the greatest melt‒‒an irreversible phenomenon.
A recent study had indicated that Greenland’s ice sheets experienced the largest melting last year, compared to other previously recorded data. It is also said to be irreversible now, as the snowfall that could replace the loss would not be enough anymore.
The alarming data was published Thursday in the “Nature Communications Earth and Environment” journal. According to co-author of the paper, Ingo Sasgen, an Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research glaciologist, “We have documented another record loss year for Greenland.”
Greenland ice sheet lost a record 530 billion metric tons of ice last year https://t.co/1q9IyWrHb8
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 21, 2020
In 2019, Greenland’s ice cheers were reported to lose 532 billion metric tons of ice for the year. About half of that was concentrated in the month of July, which saw a loss of 223 billion tons of ice. For comparison, melting only accounts for an annual loss of 255 billion tons of ice between 2003 to 2016, that means that roughly the same amount of that only occurred in one month last year.
2019 was also the third hottest years ever since we began taking records, CNN reported. Several factors contributed to the faster loss of Greenland’s ice sheets, according to Sasgen. This includes rising temperatures and low volume of snowfall. With an atmosphere that is mostly cloud-free, solar radiation has more chance of infiltrating the glaciers, which results in quicker melting.
“This extreme melt kicks off feedbacks that may accelerate the mass loss. This is what is worrying,the extremes are increasing and we understand too little about how the ice sheet will respond to more extreme climate variability,” Sasgen explained.
Glaciers in the world’s largest island and a Denmark territory, Greenland, are also the second largest ice sheet in the planet, behind only Antarctica. Its melting is adding more than a millimeter to sea level increases annually.
At the end of the century, it is projected that sea levels would rise by 3 feet. This may wipe out low-lying regions in the world, putting different areas and some 300 million people at risk.
Sasgen suggested that the hope to reduce the speed of melting is to lower the carbon footprint.