POLITICS

‘Melting event’ in Greenland could cover entire Florida with 2 inches of water, claim scientists

The amount of ice that vanished in a single day in Greenland was enough to cover “Florida with 2 inches (5 centimetres) of water”, scientists said

Greenland 'melting event' could cover Florida with 2 inches of water: Scientists

(Photo: Unsplash)

Updated: Aug 1, 2021, 10:12 AM IST

The Greenland ice sheet is undergoing a surge in melting as this week it experienced a “massive melting event” and the amount of ice vanished in a single day was enough to cover “Florida with 2 inches (5 centimetres) of water”, researchers said. 

Danish government researchers, who monitor the ice sheet, said the ice melted on Wednesday was the third-largest single-day loss of ice in Greenland since 1950. The others happened in 2012 and 2019. 

While the 2019 melting event was larger by volume, the Danish researchers who post their findings on the website Polar Portal said Wednesday’s event affected a bigger area as they estimated that 22 gigatons of ice melted on the day.

According to climate scientist Xavier Fettweis of the University of Liege in Belgium, over half of that mass that melted on Wednesday (12 gigatons) has flowed into the ocean and prior heavy snowfall allowed remaining melted ice to be absorbed and potentially refrozen, news agency AFP reported.

The researchers said on Tuesday 8.5 billion tons of surface mass was lost, adding that the meltwater created on that day was enough to drown the entire state of Florida in two inches, or 5cm, of water. 

Massive melting event in Greenland. While not as extreme as in 2019 in terms of gigatons (left image – but still would be enough to cover Florida with two inches of water), the area over which melting takes place (right image) is even a bit larger than two years ago. pic.twitter.com/rEeDIlYTA7

— Polar Portal (@PolarPortal) July 29, 2021

They said that a further 8.4 billion tons were lost on Thursday.

The ice in Greenland usually melts from June to August, and the island has lots over 100 billion tons since June, the Danish government in its data said. 

According to scientists’ calculations, Greenland’s ice is melting faster than any time for the past 12,000 years. The ice loss, which is increasing as temperatures continue to rise, has been running at a rate of around one million tons a minute in 2019, The Guardian reported. They added that Greeland and other polar regions of Antarctica have together lost 6.3 trillion tons of ice since 1994. 

With this rate of ice loss, ocean currents, marine ecosystems are changing. This rate also poses a direct threat to the world’s low-lying coastal cities that risk being inundated by flooding, The Guardian reported.

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