Home Environment Arctic melt-off in Greenland gets off to early start

Arctic melt-off in Greenland gets off to early start

The massive Greenland ice sheet has already started melting, marking the earliest recorded time in history.

The massive ice sheet covering much of Greenland is off to the races, and not in a good way. The ice sheet has already started its yearly summer meltdown, marking the quickest start yet recorded. Scientists were so stunned by the development that they rechecked their calculations before reporting their findings.

As DMI climate scientist Peter Langen put it,”We had to check that our models were still working properly.”

The amount of ice already melting is no small matter either. Approximately 12 percent of the massive 656,000 square miles of ice has already begun melting. In terms of size, this makes Greenland the second largest ice sheet that could melt, trailing only Antarctica. Recent findings also suggest that the Antarctica could also start rapidly melting.

Up until now, such melting had not been observed before May. And no, this doesn’t mean that 12 percent of the ice has actually melted. That much melting so quickly would be catastrophic for the world. If the whole ice sheet melted? Sea levels would rise by about 20 feet, flooding many of the world’s largest cities.

The early meltdown has raised fears, however, that the ice sheet could be in for a tough summer. Back in 2012, at least 95% of the ice sheet saw some melting, one of the highest recordings ever. This summer, similar numbers could be recorded.

As the ice melts and refreezes, this will actually release heat, causing more ice to melt. As a result, a sort of feedback cycle could be kicked off, causing abnormal amounts of ice to melt. Much of it will then end up in the sea before it is refrozen in the coming winter. Already, NASA is expecting sea levels to rise for decades to come due to the melting ice sheet.
Worse yet, with temperatures in some places topping 41 degrees Fahrenheit, scientists are now recording temperatures often only seen in the summer.