Greenland’s Ice Sheet Runoff Is Accelerating At An Alarming Rate, According To New Research


An unusually hot summer in 2012 caused such significant ice melts in Greenland that global ocean water levels rose by more than one millimeter that year, which is a lot of water to have been suddenly freed up in the melt over Greenland. However, scientists were unsure if this was a worrying trend or a temporary phenomenon. Now, new research suggests it is something to be concerned about.

New research published on Wednesday in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature suggests that people need to be concerned about Greenland’s ice melts as it is not likely a one-off occurrence, but rather a steady increase in ice sheet runoff.

Greenland is a country that is covered by up to 80 percent with ice. So, when climate conditions heat up and ice melting occurs, it can happen on a monumental scale. Scientists are eager to find out what is happening in Greenland in relation to climate change and whether the ice runoff events should be considered catastrophic or not.

While data exists for climate events in Greenland dating back to the 1990s, there is no data from before this point, according to National Geographic. This meant that scientists had to find out another way to track the weather conditions from the time prior to that. As a result of this, scientists drilled deep into the ice sheets in Greenland to find out what happened in that location over a much longer span of time.

And, because of these studies, scientists are now concerned with the ice melt conditions in Greenland, according to USA Today.

“Melting of the Greenland ice sheet has gone into overdrive,” said Luke Trusel, a glaciologist at Rowan University and lead author of the study.

“Greenland melt is adding to sea level more than any time during the last three and a half centuries, if not thousands of years.”

“From a historical perspective, today’s melt rates are off the charts, and this study provides the evidence to prove this,” said co-author Sarah Das, a glaciologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

In addition to this, USA Today stated that “the melt rate over the past two decades was 33 percent higher than the 20th-century average and 50 percent higher than in the pre-industrial era before the mid-1800s.”

According to Nature, there was been enough ice melt from Greenland in 2012 that it could fill up 240 million Olympic swimming pools.

And, for those that are in denial about climate change, Josh Willis, a NASA oceanographer, who was not involved in the research had this to say to Mashable.

“It’s one more nail in the coffin of climate denial. I don’t know how many more nails we need.”