For the first time in records, it has rained in Greenland, specifically it has been measured at the Summit Camp station, a research post on the island’s (generally) frozen ice shelf. And it wasn’t just a little sleet. A torrential downpour left 7 billion tons of rain on the Greenland ice last week, in a massive melt event that impacted about half of the ice shelf.
One more proof of the advance of climate change
Rain where it had never rained before. Rain fell on three exceptionally hot days in Greenland when temperatures were 18 ° C higher than average in some places. As a result, melting was observed in most of Greenland, in an area roughly four times the size of the UK.
It is the second major ice melt in two weeks. It goes without saying that this is a clear sign that climate change is progressing and that we, as a planet, must take urgent action to prevent it from getting worse. It is difficult to imagine this situation without the influence of global climate change.
We cannot forget that in May this year, a team of researchers reported that a significant part of the Greenland ice sheet was approaching a tipping point , after which accelerated melting would be inevitable even if it stopped. completely global warming. A step without turning back and another milestone in our worrying ecological collapse.
These ice sheets do not usually experience melting during the summer. Winter snow accumulates over thousands of years and is compressed under the weight of new layers. But Greenland, like the rest of our planet, is changing because of climate change.
The fact is that even new ice formed by the freezing of recently fallen rainwater will probably be short-lived. The ice we commonly see in Greenland is bright white and reflects sunlight away from the ecosystem of the endangered island. However, the ice from freezing rain is softer and darker in color, so it will absorb more sunlight and further increase temperatures in the region. Once frozen, it will also form a smooth barrier, preventing meltwater from seeping below the surface, which can lead to even more melting at higher elevations than runoff generally impacts.
The fact that the phenomenon of rain is so serious in an Arctic landscape as remote as this one, is that the thaw could raise the sea level to worrying levels. If that happens, cities and coastal communities around the world would be in danger; entire cities will be devastated.
What if all the ice in Greenland melted?
If the Greenland ice were to disappear, the sea level would rise by about 20 feet, although this would take centuries or millennia to occur. For the moment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that sea level has already risen 20 centimeters and that the most likely range by the end of this century will be 28-100 cm more , although it could even reach 2 meters.