Greenland is said to be experiencing unusual ice melt for this time of the year. This past week, it lost 2 billion tons of ice in a single day.
Greenland Ice Melt
Could 2019 set a record for the amount of Greenland ice loss? There is quite a bit of time before the verdict is out, but on Thursday, June 13, Greenland lost 2 billion tons (2 gigatons) of ice. That unusual ice melt is comparable to the record-setting ice melt in 2012, which was the first time in recorded history that the entire ice sheet experienced melting.
While it is not unusual for Greenland ice to melt, the so-called “melt season” typically runs from June to August, with much of the melting occurring in July. Simply put, it is highly unusual for that large amount of ice to be melting in mid-June.
Unfortunately, while the spike in melting is seen as unusual, experts say that is not unprecedented, as evidenced by the 2012 spike. In fact, researchers have previously found that the ice melt in Greenland is now occurring six times faster than it did in the 1980s, with the acceleration beginning in the 2000s and continuing to increase in the 2010s.
'Big Melt Year For Greenland'
The early melting of this much ice is problematic because it opens up the gate for even more melting later in the summer.
In May, ice climatologist Jason Box predicted 2019 to be a big “melt year” for Greenland, and with the current pace of melting, his prediction is proving to be true. In fact, prior to this unusual mid-June melting, April also had early melting that occurred three weeks earlier than usual and even earlier than the record-setting ice melt in 2012.
What’s more, the snow cover is also rather low in Western Greenland, so the unfortunate combination of these factors might lead to 2019 potentially beating the ice-melt record of 2012. This is bad news for the global sea-level rise, as Greenland has been a growing contributor to sea-level rise in the past two decades.
The situation in Greenland is a clear example of how the troubles in one part of the planet may affect the rest of the globe.