A Heatwave in Greenland

Recent unseasonably warm temperatures, brought to Greenland by a heat wave that smashed records across Europe a week before, have accelerated the melting of the ice sheet that covers 82 percent of the country, releasing water at record rates. On Thursday alone, an estimated 12.5 billion tons of meltwater flowed into the ocean, which would be the highest single-day total since 1950, according to Ted Scambos, a senior researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, quoted in The Washington Post. Snow and ice melt every summer in Greenland, and this heat wave was an anomalous event, but climatologists warn that overall warming trends intensify such events, and make them more likely in years to come. The Associated Press cites a June 2019 study that concluded “melting ice in Greenland alone will add between 5 and 33 centimeters (2 to 13 inches) to rising global sea levels by the year 2100.”

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