A photo from June 13 shows sled dogs wading on an expedition through water, which was forced to turn around due to an unusual early meltdown.
Credit: Steffen Olsen from the Center for Ocean and Ice at the Danish Meteorological Institute
Summer is no longer starting for two days, but oceanographers and climatologists are already alerting for breathtaking, dangerous ice melts that are taking place in Greenland, according to the Agence France Press (AFP).
The vast island state is blocking enough fresh water into its ice cover to increase global sea level by 6 meters, according to the NSIDC. It is the second largest ice deposit in the world after Antarctica. And research shows that ice has melted faster than ever in recent years. While temperatures in northwestern Greenland reach all-time highs this month, researchers in the region are finding unusual, surprising ice melts, according to AFP.
"There was a dry winter and recently [there has been] warm air, clear sky and sun ̵
Mottram and colleagues found that Greenland alone lost 4.1 billion tonnes (3.7 billion tonnes) of ice on June 17, and that 41 billion tonnes (37 billion tonnes) of ice have been on the island since its inception melted of the month.
According to AFP, the biggest concern is how early this happens. Greenland is experiencing annual ice-melt and growth cycles (although they have more or less balanced each other, unlike in recent years). but in 2019, the melting season began in early May. This is a month earlier than usual and something that has only occurred once in the historical record of 2016.
This means that the ice not only melts very fast, but has more time to melt this summer than in a climate system that was not so unbalanced. Since 1972, Greenland has contributed about 1.4 inches to the rise in sea level. With humanity pumping far more greenhouse gases into the air today than at any time in the 20th century, this process is accelerating. Long melting periods like these seem to contribute significantly more to sea level rise than in previous decades.
"It is possible that we will break the records set for the lowest Arctic sea ice extent in 2012 … and for a record high of Greenland ice melt," said Mottram, as reported by the AFP. A viral photo showed a group of sled dog teams forced to reverse after encountering a normally solid ice surface that had liquefied on the surface.
Originally published on Live Science .