Greenland, 6 billion tons of water lost per day from glaciers: disaster risks
Between 15 and 17 July due to extreme heat, Greenland’s glaciers lost 6 billion tons of water per day. What are the risks?
L’extreme heat wave which is affecting a large part of Western Europe, Africa, and Asia is causing a serious acceleration in the melting of ice of Greenland one of the main victims of the global warming catalyzed by climate changes. According to data released by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), a US institute specializing in polar and cryospheric research, only between the 15 and July 17 I glaciers were present in the northwestern area of the island – part of the Kingdom of Denmark – have lost 6 billion tons of water every day.
That’s enough to fill 7.2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools or cover the entire state of West Virginia with more than 30 centimeters of water, CNN specified, reporting the NSIDC figure.
Temperatures in Greenland these days are settling down 15,5° Cben 5° C more than the average for the period. This can only accelerate the melting of the ice, with a significant impact on these level rises (when the masses on the mainland are involved). “Northern melt this past week is not normal, considering the climatic averages of the past 30 to 40 years,” Dr. Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado and the NSIDC, told CNN.
“The dissolution is on the rise and this event has been a peak,” added the expert. “It worries me,” echoed his colleague Kutalmis Saylam, a researcher at the University of Texas who is currently in Greenland to study the impact of climate change. “Yesterday we were able to wander around with our t-shirts, it was not expected,” added the researcher disconsolately.
Greenland, as indicated, is particularly affected by climate change, so much so that according to the study “Dynamic ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet driven by sustained glacier retreat” led by scientists from Ohio State University and published in Communications Earth and Environment it would have reached a sort of “point of no return”. Put simply, Greenland will continue to melt regardless of what happens with climate change.
According to expert estimates, since 1985 the largest glaciers of Greenland have withdrawn on average by 3 kilometersmoreover, since the beginning of the new millennium, they have melted on average 450 billion tons of ice. On Tuesday 27 July 2021 alone, the Greenland ice sheet lost 8.5 billion tons of surface mass, one of the most dramatic figures for a single day; while in 2019 the overall loss reached 590 billion tons of ice, the worst figure ever, which alone contributed to the sea level rise of 1.5mm.
The length of the day fluctuates every 6 years and perhaps we know why
If all the glaciers in Greenland were to melt, according to scientists’ estimates the sea level would rise 7.5 meters, engulfing entire coastal regions and metropolises (also in Italy), as well as making a large number of oceanic islands disappear underwater, especially the atolls of the Pacific.
But rising sea levels aren’t the only danger associated with melting Greenland ice. According to the study “Transition Probabilities of Noise-induced Transitions of the Atlantic Ocean Circulation” published in Scientific Reports by scientists from the University of Utrecht and Groningen, fresh water from the melting of the island’s ice (the largest in the world) and exceptional rainfall could even alter the North Atlantic current known as Gulf Stream.
This current carries hot water from the Gulf of Mexico to Europe – thanks to the Earth’s rotation – and gives north-western Europe a mild climate, but due to these immense masses of freshwater released by the melting of the ice, it could even be blocked. However, scientists from the Netherlands believe that a complete stop of the current (which would lead to a drastic drop in temperatures), but they estimate a 15 percent probability that a temporary change within the next century.