Right now, Greenland is melting. As the world struggles to get greenhouse-gas emissions under control, oceans are storing the excess heat made by humankind’s bad choices. The warming ocean temperatures seep under the world’s ice sheets, causing the ice to collapse and the sea levels to rise. Greenland, home to the second-largest ice sheet in the world, is witnessing the impact right now.
In the wake of one of the biggest heat waves in recorded European history, and increasing rainfall, the melting of Greenland’s ice accelerated dramatically. More than 10 billion metric tons of ice was lost on Wednesday alone, creating a net mass ice loss of some 197 billion metric tons from Greenland in July, according to Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with the Danish Meteorological Institute, who spoke to the AP.
If you’re struggling to picture 10 billion tons of melting ice, keep in mind that 1 billion tons of ice loss is equivalent to about 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, the Danish Meteorological Institute said. That’s a lot of water. And as Rolling Stone reports, yesterday was the warmest day in recorded history on the Greenland ice sheet, meaning things are only going to get worse. As the water rises, the residents of Greenland are seeing the immediate impact of global warming on their homeland.
“The current melt rate is equivalent to what the model projects for 2070, using the most pessimistic model,” Xavier Fettweis, a climate researcher at the University of Liège, told Inside Climate News. That, of course, is extremely bad news for the planet. So there’s no denying that sea levels are rising, but as The Guardian reports, how much they will rise is up for some debate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects there will be two extra feet of water by the end of the century, while the United Nations predicts three feet, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration goes so far as to suggest an upper limit of six and a half feet.
The Naujatkuat River in West Greenland running high in end of July, my gauging station is perched on the bedrock. With the exceptional heat wave coming I have my fingers crossed for it not being washed away. pic.twitter.com/JPofxDIELN
— Irina Overeem (@IrinaOvereem) July 30, 2019
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) August 2, 2019
View this post on Instagram
A picture for the future: Eqi Glacier, Greenland. The heat wave turned Greenland´s ice to slush. The glacier lost more than 217 billion tons of ice in the month of July. See the whole picture @fischer.foto #fridays for future #fridaysforfuture.de#fridaysforfuturevienna #climatechange #climatechangeisreal #fischer.foto#greenland #gretathunberg