European Wilderness Society

How Greenland already lost 2 billion tons of ice in one day

In the last several decades, Greenland has lost a substantial ice mass to the ocean. According to recent announcements, in just one day, over 40% of Greenland’s ice has started melting.

2-3 °C temperature rise and Greenland’s ice is gone

The Greenland ice sheet is a vast body of ice covering 1,710,000 square kilometres. It’s the second largest ice sheet in the world following Antarctica. Unfortunately the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica, have been losing more ice every year than they gain from snowfall. This has attracted many scientists in the last decades, who have studied arctic climate and its effects on arctic shrinkage. Monitoring changes in the ice mass is not only diary of past climates, but also a window to follow the day-to-day effects of climate overheating.

Record melt season?

The ususal melting season in Greenland falls between June and August, with the melt peak happening in July. The fact that such amount of ice is already lost early in the summer is a serious concern. This potentially means that 2019 could set new records for the amount of Greenland ice loss. Record melt years were 2007, 2010 and 2012, but before 2007 such large melt seasons were unprecendented.

Shocking consequences

Greenland is just one island, but it has the potential to completetly transform the planet. If viral footage of starving polar bears and the collapse of Greenland’s largest glaciers is not haunting enough, a recently taken photo shows sledge dogs running ancle deep in melted ice of Greenland. The warning signs are clear: the ice sheets have entered a phase of dangerous instability.

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Melting glacial Wilderness

The alpine and glacial Hohe Tauern Wilderness is a prime chronicle of local glacier transformations due to the high temperatures and the below-average snow conditions at the end of winter.

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