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Greenland Ice Sheet: Melting Faster in 2016

While over land and sea the entire globe has been the hottest on record for every single month of this year so far (link | link | link | link | link), some localities have been feeling the warmth too, with possible consequences for the entire planet.  Take Greenland, for instance.  According the National Snow and Ice Data Center:

“The Greenland Ice Sheet extends about 1.7 million square kilometers (656,000 square miles), covering most of the island of Greenland, three times the size of Texas….  If the Greenland Ice Sheet melted, scientists estimate that sea level would rise about 6 meters (20 feet).”

The entire Greenland Ice Sheet has not, fortunately, melted.  But part of it has, and the part of it that melts every year is on the rise.  In an average year between 1981 and 2010, 20% of the area of the Greenland Ice Sheet would have been in melt by yesterday, June 26.  On June 26 this year, in 2016, more than 30% of the Greenland Ice Sheet was in melt:

Greenland Melt Extent June 26

That’s not 100% yet.  That’s not a 20 foot rise in sea level yet.  But very quickly, that’s the direction in which Greenland is moving.  When we get there, this is what the New York City area will look like (inundated areas in purple):

The New York City Area, when sea levels rise by 20 feetWe’re not there yet.  But this is where we’re headed.

One thought on “Greenland Ice Sheet: Melting Faster in 2016”

  1. ella says:

    The Earth has not seen this level of CO2 in over 800,000 years and possibly up to 4 million years ago. At now 400 ppm we gave a future climate that could support some different species while eliminating many existing forms of life. The good news is, there isn’t a major extinction listed that happened at that time. Information found through The National Snow and Ice Data Center also says that the developing La Nina may end the recent record heat globally. I am guessing that means while La Nina is in cycle. We don’t want an ice age rebound, but why is the CO2 level still rising?

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