With the hottest temperatures ever recorded taking a toll on Greenland's ice sheet this July, global sea levels have increased drastically.
This year has been one of the Earth's hottest. As temperatures around the world soar due to global warming and manmade climate change, Greenland's ice sheet just experienced the most dramatic ice melt all summer. On Thursday, August 1, the sheet lost 11 billion tons of ice — in a period of a mere 24 hours, reports CNN. That's just about enough water to fill 4.4 million Olympic swimming pools. This, coupled with many other pressing factors that indicate the severity of climate change, can prove disastrous for the Earth's overall natural balance. Should mankind continue to operate as we currently do, the planet may become inhabitable sooner than predicted.
In addition to losing 11 billion tons of ice, Greenland's ice melt, a regular climate process that takes place every summer, began much earlier than expected. While it usually begins at the end of May, this year, it started at the very beginning of the month. As described by Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with Danish Meteorological Institute, Greenland's ice sheet has been melting "persistently" over the last four months, during which the region experienced record-high temperatures.
During the month of July 2019 alone, Greenland lost a grand total of 197 billion tons of ice due to ice melt, a result of ever-increasing temperatures. That is equivalent to 80 million Olympic swimming pools (can you even picture that many pools all at once?). In comparison, Mottram explained that the average ice melt would add up to around 60 to 70 million tons. To cause further concern, the weather conditions that generated a crippling heatwave to Europe just last week has currently reached the Arctic, where it is expected to, scientists believe, set off one of the biggest ice melts the Earth would have ever experienced since 1950 (roundabouts when reliable documentation began). The news arrives just as meteorologists confirm that this July "has been as hot as any month in recorded history."
According to Mottram, the warm temperatures are likely to last longer, at least for a few more weeks. Typically, warm weather conditions and therby, the melt season, last until the end of August. Therefore, scientists predict that Greenland's ice sheet is likely to see even more substantial melting. However, unlike in the past weeks, the melting will not be as rapid or hefty. Because Greenland's ice sheet is the world's second-largest, the significant ice melt has resulted in a rise in global sea levels by about half a millimeter - a consequential amount - this year alone.
Even more disturbingly, the Arctic experienced "unprecedented" wildfires this year, also facilitated by the record-high temperatures, scientists affirmed. As per data from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), more than 100 intense wildfires in the Arctic Circle were identified throughout the month of June this year. Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECWMF), told CNN earlier this week that the wildfires had the right condition to spread due to quickly-rising temperatures in the Arctic; Temperatures in the Circle are rising faster there than the global average, which should be a matter of concern for everyone.