With the Arctic thaw beginning last week, the Greenland ice sheet has started to melt at a severe rate. “Loss of sea ice sheet is already several weeks ahead of normal,” says scientists
A stagnant region of high-pressure winds over Greenland carried warm winds from the south that led to a rise in temperatures by 40 degrees Fahrenheit above average last week. Moreover, cloudless conditions resulted in pulse thawing across Greenland.
Melting last week was at its worst stage over a past few months, at 275,000 square miles, or nearly 45% of the surface, noted a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. This shows a record for such severe melting, which has been observed by Satellites since back in 1979.
The year 2012 was seen as an exceptionally warmer year in the Arctic; there was a slightly higher melting in June. The early melt is following the trend in the Arctic, where the warming impact is greater than usual. Currently, the region is warming twice as fast as the world average.
“However, conditions in the Arctic can vary on a daily basis. From Saturday slightly cooler air let to reduced melting of 215,000 square miles,” says scientists from National Snow and Ice Data Center.
In 2012, warmer winds returned in July and August. Greenland shed about 200 billion tons of ice, which was a record melting for that year.
“We can’t speculate if the history will be repeated; however, early extensive that is setting up the island up for more melting as we move into the summer,” stated Ted Scambos, a senior member at the Earth Science and Observation Center at the University of Colorado
A Light snowfall last winter, in northern Greenland was a contributing element to the early melting in 2019. A thinner sheet of ice melts more rapidly – divulging the old and thick ice sheet, both of which are darker than that of new snow and traps more sunlight – accelerating melting.