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:
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):
We’re not there yet. But this is where we’re headed.