Greenland Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Greenland Is Melting Faster Than Ever

The Glacial Ice Sheet, Greenland is disintegrating at an extremely alarming rate, a group of worldwide scientists said.

According to the study's report, Greenland ice sheet meltdown witnessed "a more sustained and greater magnitude of melt than any other 10-year period in the 350-year record".

"Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet has gone into overdrive". The runoff alone is now contributing about a millimeter to the global average sea level per year, said study co-author Sarah Das, a glaciologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. "And increasing melt began around the same time as we started altering the atmosphere in the mid-1800s", said the researcher, alluding to a human activity as the likely culprit for this warming.

Despite mounting research on anthropogenic global warming and alarm among scientists about the closing window to avert climate catastrophe, the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress continue to push for fossil-fuel friendly policies and roll back regulations meant to curb planet-warming emissions.

The study confirms ice loss from Greenland is one of the main factors contributing to the sea level rise. The melting and freezing cycle also makes ice below the surface less permeable, so more runoff is shunted to the ocean rather than trickling down into the ice sheet.

In order to come up with a historical record of Greenland's ice melt, the research team drilled ice cores from the ice sheet at sites more than 1,800 meters above sea level.

And without a huge change of direction, Greenland "will melt more and more for every degree of warming", Mr Trusel warned.

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The core samples collected by the researchers were sent to the ice core labs in the US where scientist determined the age and thickness of the melt layers.

At higher elevations, the summer meltwater doesn't run off the ice sheet, but instead refreezes after coming in contact with the snowpack sitting underneath.

They showed that melting of Greenland's surface ice began increasing in the mid-19th century and then ramped up dramatically during the 20th and early 21st centuries.

"Once the ice sheets reach these tipping points, it's thought that they'll go into a state of irreversible retreat, so they'll be responding to what we do now for centuries and milliennia into the future", Trusel said. For instance, 2012 was particularly intense, with 97% of the entire ice sheet experiencing surface melting for a few days. This frozen meltwater creates distinct ice bands that pile up over years to form layers of densely packed ice.

The results from the ice cores were combined with observations from satellites and climate models. A new study shows this massive melt-out wasn't just an anomaly compared with the last 40 years, but the last 350.

Ice core records provide critical historical context because satellite measurements-which scientists rely on today to understand melting rates in response to changing climate-have only been around since the late 1970s, said Matt Osman, a graduate student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program and co-author of the study. He added, "I don't know how many more nails we need".

Besides Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, ice core samples were examined at the U.S. National Science Foundation Ice Core Facility in Denver, Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, and the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada.

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