DATE: September 3, 2019
SNIP: Greenland’s massive ice sheet may have melted by a record amount this year, scientists have warned.
During this year alone, it lost enough ice to raise the average global sea level by more than a millimetre.
Researchers say they’re “astounded” by the acceleration in melting and fear for the future of cities on coasts around the world.
One glacier in southern Greenland has thinned by as much as 100 metres since I last filmed on it back in 2004.
Another revelation is that the ice is not only being melted by the air, as the atmosphere heats up, but also by warmer water reaching underneath the fronts of the glaciers. One Nasa scientist describes the ice as being under a hair-dryer and at the same time also on a cooker.
One of the scientists studying the ice sheet, Dr Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), says he’s unnerved by the potential dangers and that coastal planners need to “brace themselves”.
“Now that I’m starting to understand more of the consequences, it’s actually keeping me awake at night because I realise the significance of this place around the world and the livelihoods that are already affected by sea level rise,” he told me.
According to Dr Box, it’s the recent increase in the average temperature that’s being felt in Greenland’s ice: “Already effectively that’s a death sentence for the Greenland ice sheet because also going forward in time we’re expecting temperatures only to climb,” he said.
“So, we’re losing Greenland – it’s really a question of how fast.”