Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Record Shrinking of Greenland's Ice Sheet Raises Sea Levels

Climate
Small iceberg in ice fjord with mountainous background, Southern Greenland. Education Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Greenland's kilometers-long ice sheet underwent near-record imbalance last year, scientists have reported on Wednesday.

The ice sheet suffered a net loss of 600 billion tons, which was enough to raise the global watermark 1.5 millimeters, accounting for approximately 40% of total sea-level rise in 2019.

The alarming development was reported in "The Cryosphere," a peer-reviewed journal published by the European Geosciences Union.


Researchers noted that the massive melt was not due only to warm temperatures but also to unusual high-pressure weather systems, which suggested that scientists may be underestimating the threats the ice faces.

The unusual high-pressure weather systems are linked to climate change and they have blocked the formation of clouds, causing unfiltered sunlight to melt the surface of the ice sheet.

Fewer clouds also meant less snow, which researchers found to be some 100 billion tons below the 1980-1999 average.

"These atmospheric conditions are becoming more and more frequent over the past few decades," said lead author Marco Tedesco, a scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

"This is very likely due to the 'waviness' in the jet stream," a powerful, high-altitude ribbon of wind moving from west to east over the polar region, he said.

"We're destroying ice in decades that was built over thousands of years," Tedesco warned.

Greenland's ice sheet is the second largest in the world and it is located high in the Arctic region, where average temperatures have risen 2 degrees Celsius since the mid-19th century, twice the global average.

Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Matthew Micah Wright / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Deborah Moore, Michael Simon and Darryl Knudsen

There's some good news amidst the grim global pandemic: At long last, the world's largest dam removal is finally happening.

Read More Show Less
Scrap metal is loaded into a shredder at a metal recycling facility on July 17, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson / Getty Images

Hunger strikers in Chicago are fighting the relocation of a metal shredding facility from a white North Side neighborhood to a predominantly Black and Latinx community on the Southeast Side already plagued by numerous polluting industries.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A new UK study links eating meat with increased risks for heart disease, diabetes and more. nata_zhekova / Getty Images

The World Health Organization has determined that red meat probably causes colorectal cancer in humans and that processed meat is carcinogenic to humans. But are there other health risks of meat consumption?

Read More Show Less
A common cuttlefish like this can pass the "marshmallow test." Hans Hillewaert / CC BY-SA 4.0

Cuttlefish, marine invertebrates related to squids and octopuses, can pass the so-called "marshmallow test," an experiment designed to test whether human children have the self-control to wait for a better reward.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Yogyakarta Bird Market, Central Java, Indonesia. Jorge Franganillo / CC BY 2.0

By John R. Platt

The straw-headed bulbul doesn't look like much.

It's less than a foot in length, with subdued brown-and-gold plumage, a black beak and beady red eyes. If you saw one sitting on a branch in front of you, you might not give it a second glance.

Read More Show Less