In Greenland during the day, melted a record amount of ice

Clay Curtis
June 20, 2019

Greenland glaciers are melting with unusual for this time of year, speed, scientists have found.

Experts said that the abnormal phenomenon resulting from the abrupt spike in melting was "unusual so early in the season, yet not unprecedented", drawing equivalence to the record-setting melting year of 2012, that saw almost the whole of Greenland ice sheet experience an unprecedented melting in the whole of written history. "Rapid melt and sea ice with low permeability and few cracks leaves the melt water on top".

Besides calling it a "beautiful picture", DMI climate scientist Ruth Mottram told CTV News Channel the "early onset of melting ... is interesting because it communicates something about the changes that we're seeing in the wider Arctic over the last few years".

White snow and ice, which is bright and reflects the sun's rays back into space, reduces the amount of heat that is absorbed and helps to keep the ice sheet cold, a process known as "albedo".

"It is comparable to some spikes we saw in June of 2012", Mote told CNN, referring to the record-setting melt year of 2012 that saw nearly the entire ice sheet experience melting for the first time in recorded history.

The view from northern Greenland during a heat wave over the past week.

The melting sea ice is one thing. While the country experiences annual melting from June through August, the rate so far this year has been record-breaking.

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A persistent weather pattern has been setting the stage for the current spike in melting, according to Mote.

It all begun last week when a stagnant zone of high-pressure air over Greenland filled the region with warm air.

Over the past week or two, that high pressure ridge got even stronger as another high pressure front moved in from the eastern United States - the one that caused the prolonged hot and dry period in the Southeast earlier this month.

Experts are now comparing this year's numbers to the numbers in 2012. But he pointed out that until recently, they were unheard of.

"Our climate model simulations expect there to be a general decline in the length of the sea ice season around Greenland; how fast and how much is very much dependent on how much global temperature rises, but this week's warming is still a weather-driven extreme event so it's hard to pin it down to climate change alone".

Commenting on the photo, Rosie Rogers, senior climate campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: "From Greenland's melting sea ice to the 50C heatwave scorching India, the impacts of the climate emergency are playing out all around us".

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