Greenland melts most in 50 years

The ice sheet in Greenland melted more last year than it has done for more than 50 years, according to US government scientists.

The annual climate survey, which was released at the end of June and includes research from 45 countries, found that last year melting was at its highest since 1958, when records first became available.

“The world continues to warm,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a briefing paper. “Multiple indicators, same bottom-line conclusion: consistent and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the oceans,” it went on.

The study also found that while the world’s alpine glaciers have been getting smaller for the last 20 years, Arctic sea ice is now at its third smallest area on record. Last year was also said to be the hottest or the second-hottest year on record, depending on methodology; the temperature was at least 0.5°C higher than the average since the 1990s.

The extreme natural events of 2010, such as floods in Pakistan, record snowfall in US cities and the deadly heat wave in Russia, are also indicators of global warming, according to the report. In addition, it was concluded by the Oslo-based Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program in May this year that sea levels could rise by as much as 1.6 metres by 2100, far higher than previously estimated, AFP reports.

(Photo: Anders Peter Amsnæs)