Walloped by heat wave, Greenland sees massive ice melt

Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data, processed by Pierre Markuse

Roughly 82% of the surface of Greenland is covered in ice, but climate scientists with the Danish Meterological Institute have found it is melting at a record rate.

Stating that the melt area has been quite big when the warm air mass from Europe arrived in Greenland, Rottram said that the dry summer period is the main cause of the very high ice loss.

Greenland has been enduring the heat wave that last week baked Europe, breaking temperature records in five countries.

In this aerial view melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland.

Sources have revealed that around 60% of the Greenland ice sheet has melted.

This July alone, Greenland's ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice - the equivalent of around 80 million Olympic swimming pools - according to [Ruth] Mottram [of the Danish Meteorological Institute].

"Like 2012, this melt event reached the highest elevations of the ice sheet, which is highly unusual", says Thomas Mote, a professor of geography at the University of Georgia.

A study by US and Danish scientists in June found melting ice in Greenland will add between five and 33 centimetres to rising global sea levels by the year 2100. The melt season typically lasts until the end of August.

The current melting has been caused by the arrival of the same warm air from North Africa and Spain that led to July national temperature records in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Britain.

Free-floating ice captured near Ilulissat, Greenland.

Mike Sparrow, senior scientific officer for the United Nations World Meteorological Organization, said that amid rising global temperatures, extreme heatwaves were now occurring at least 10 times more frequently than a century ago.

"When people talk about the average global temperature increasing by a little more than 1 degree (Celsius), that's not a huge amount to notice if you're sitting in Hamburg or London, but that's a global average and it's much greater in the polar regions", he said.

On average, the Greenland ice sheet produces about 270 gigatons of discharge in the oceans per year, Tedesco said.



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