On Thursday, June 13th, 2019, 40% of Greenland experienced melting. This led to 2 billion tons of ice melting in one day. This is not unprecedented, but the results were quite extreme.
June to August is Greenland’s melting season. Typically, the majority of the ice melting occurs in July. However, there have been multiple years where it has begun earlier in June.
Unfortunately, 2019 may become the new record holder for Greenland’s melting season if this trend continues.
More Ice Melting Is Likely
With such a large scale ice melting event occurring in June, there is a very high chance that more will occur in July and August. One of the major downsides is how these events are more likely to be more intense.
The process of Albedo is responsible for minimizing the melting of ice sheets. White snow and ice reflect the sun’s rays. This prevents the ice sheets from getting hot and melting.
However, this large scale ice melting event has weakened the albedo rating. This means that it is much more likely for mid-summer ice melting to occur.
Why The Sudden Melt
It takes special circumstances for melting of this scale to occur, and it is all due to a high-pressure ridge. This is a weather pattern that pulls warm and humid air from the Central Atlantic Ocean to Greenland.
The high pressure stops any precipitation in the area. This means that while this ridge is in effect, it will be a clear sunny day. Of course, when you combine warm humid air with clear sunny skies, ice is bound to melt.
While this may sound like a first, it is not. According to data, 2007, 2010 and 2012 were all similar melt events. And 2012 currently holds the record for the most ice melted in a year.
At the rate things are going, though, 2019 is on track to beat that record.
Sea Levels Are Rising
When an ice sheet or a glacier melts, the water mixes in with the ocean. Obviously, as more ice melts and more water enters the oceans, the sea level will rise.
This puts every coastal region at risk. The ocean is expected to rise by 6.6 feet by the end of the century. Cities like Manhattan will be at high flood risk.
However, this number is subject to change. If the planet continues to increase its temperature, the amount of melting will increase and the sea levels will correspondingly rise.
The Climate Is Changing
One of the biggest problems with understanding climate change is that the climate is already changing. Greenland is not alone when it comes to melting ice.
Climate change is already here.