Record Ice Melt on GreenlandJuly 25th, 2012 at 3:40 pm by T.J. Del Santo under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog
With the aid of three different satellites, scientists have seen the surface ice on top of the ice sheet in Greenland shrink significantly. This is all in just 4 days! This is the quickest this has been seen in 30 years of satellite observations. Scientists with NASA have confirmed this.
In a LiveScience.com report, researcher Lora Koenig said, “Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” Koenig said.
So, it sounds like this is a cycle that Greenland goes through…not a doomsday scenario. Greenland sees an ice melt every summer. In fact, about half of the surface ice melts every summer. This is unprecedented though with nearly all of the surface ice disappearing. On July 8th, 40% of the surface had melted and on July 12th, nearly 97% had melted! Unbelievable! This particular summer has been different because of weather patterns overhead. Warm air settled over this world’s largest island this summer, and it could indeed be part of that 150 year cycle.
With a surface area of 836,000 square miles and sitting close to the Arctic, Greenland has a lot of ice. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if melted completely, the Greenland ice sheet could raise the global sea-level 23 feet! That is not what happened in Greenland this summer, but it is something to think about. This is obviously very important to watch. Scientists have linked global warming to the polar ice melt and thus sea-level rise.
Rhode Island’s coastline is being affected by polar ice melt. Our local sea-level has risen about 10inches in the last century in Newport with an estimated additional rise of 3feet possible by 2100!! This will have serious consequences on low-lying areas of Rhode Island. We’ve already seen this during storms when the ocean floods roadways and other low-lying areas. Our climate is changing.
What can we do? A large group of scientists believe that humans are to blame. The addition of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is warming the planet. About the only thing we can do is cut down on the burning of fossil fuels. While it would be impossible to reverse this, slowing it down is possible.
This is interesting: According to a recent study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, if we were continue to spew carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at current levels, Greenland could disappear in 2,000 years! If we were to slow the release of green house gases, it could take 50,000 years.
Something to think about.
-T.J. Del Santo