Known for its glaciers, Greenland has been melting at an unprecedented rate in the last month, and fires have broken out, writes “Science Alert”.
Scientists did not expect Greenland to melt at this rate for another 50 years. But by the last week of July, melting has reached the level projected by climate models for 2070, in the most pessimistic scenario.
The Greenland ice sheet lost 12.5 billion tons of ice on August 1, more than a day since researchers began measuring ice melting in 1950, the Washington Post reported.
The dramatic melting suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is approaching a turning point that could lead it irreversibly to extinction.
If that happens, a catastrophic sea level rise would engulf coastal cities around the world.
The Arctic ice melting season begins every year in June and ends in August, with the peak of melting recorded in July.
However, the rate of melting ice in Greenland this year exceeded records. From July 30 to August 3, thawing was recorded on 90 percent of Greenland’s surface, with 55 billion tons of water discharged over five days.
Extreme melting followed during the warmest month in history as an intense heat wave ravaged Europe and then reached Greenland.
A similar above-average melting was recorded in Switzerland, where glaciers lost 800 million tons of ice there during heat waves in June and July.
In Alaska, a record melting of ice was also recorded in July.