A major study that has been ongoing for the last 35-years – through 2018 – found glaciers in Greenland has shrunken to a point of no return, and the ice is likely to melt even as the annual snowfall continues. The point of return has been crossed.
Ice sheets in Greenland have been under the threat of climate change at a rate twice the normal world for the last 30 years, thanks to a process that aggravates the bane called Arctic Amplification.
Arctic Amplification, a theory forwarded by a Swiss scientists redirects to the average rise of temperature by 0.6°C in the mid-20th-Century, which has since then been rampant.
The catch is, this temperature-rise does not affect equally everywhere, and mercury levels in the Arctic rise twice the rise of mid-latitudes in this phenomenon, according to NASA.
This study comes after last month scientists recorded the worst July in since 1979 (from when satellite data was kept) where they recorded least ice cover on the Arctic ocean.
In the study, scientists analyzed data of 234 glaciers in Greenland, for 35 years, throughout 2018, and found the thawing rate of the Greenland ice-sheets has shot up beyond a point that cannot be compensated by regular snowfall, the new research suggests.
Studying the satellite data of the glaciers, the researchers noted, before 2000, there was a 50% chance to turns the damage game and regain the ice. But chances have since been declining.
The summertime melting of the ice in the region continues to melt at a level beyond the scope of annual snowfall to reverse the change.
The study has been published in the Nature Communications Earth & Environment journal on Thursday, Reuters reports.
“Greenland is going to be the canary in the coal mine, and the canary is already pretty much dead at this point,”
– glaciologist Ian Howat at Ohio State University said, who is a part of the study.
Reuters noted, Greenland’s arctic thaw has already contributed to the global rise in sea-level (one millimeter on an average per annum), and if all the ice melts, the sea level will rise by 6 meters, potential enough to swamp many coastal regions in the world.
Scientists involved in the study found, given the current hemorrhage caused to the region, Greenland’s ice sheets will gain mass only once in 100 years – a grim indicator to the irreversibility of nature when the threshold of damage is crossed.
According to Michalea King, the lead author of the study and researcher at Ohio State University, the melting ice of Greenland releases more than 280 billion metric tons of water into the ocean each year, CNN reports. This is a significant drip of freshwater.
Forty percent of the US population resides in coastal regions like Florida, which also happens to be some of the most vulnerable areas from the rising sea-level, the finding of the study reiterates.
Let us persist, even if we may not succeed
Despite all the damage done, glaciologist Twila Moon, who was not involved in the study, insists stopping climate change is only beneficial.
“When we think about climate action, we’re not talking about building back the Greenland ice sheet, she told Reuters.
It means how quickly we realize the bane of climate change is coming for us in our communities, infrastructures, homes and so on, Moon said.
A separate study published this week reinforced that all the ice covers in the Arctic ocean will be no more by 2035 — around the time today’s toddlers will graduate from high school.
“This is pointing to something we know is happening very quickly, and now we know we have to be ready for it [sooner than we might have thought],” Maria Vittoria Guarino said, who’s a climate scientist at the British Antarctic Survey and the lead author of the study.
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