The heat wave that stroke Europe this past June had severe consequences as it melted 45% of Greenland´s ice surface. The temperatures reached 4.4 ˚C higher than normal for this time of the year in some parts of the territory.
The alarming findings from computer models show that the melting rate is not only increasing but also accelerating. The melting rates in the last 20 years are 33% higher than the 20th century averages. The existence of the ice sheet is in danger as it is increasingly melting and at an earlier time in the summer. The rapid change in the landscape has proven that Greenland is changing in human time rather than in geological time.
Warming air is not the only cause but also warm water. Now, the Arctic is warming at a rate almost double the average of the rest of the planet. “Researchers determined that over a six-year period Greenland had lost 51 cubic kilometres of ice per year, which was akin to an ice cube 2.3 miles [3.7 km] long on each side falling into the ocean annually” (Gertner, Jon).
The only solution to save Greenland is by drastically reducing our carbon emissions. Following a framework such as the Paris Agreement might preserve most of the ice. The key is to act now because the longer we wait the more irreversible damage we will cause.
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The entire article by Jon Gertner can be found on the YaleEnvironment360 News site here: https://e360.yale.edu/features/in-greenlands-melting-ice-a-warning-on-hard-climate-choices