An alarming new discovery, detailed in a study published in Geophysical Research Letters, shows that 97 per cent of Greenland’s ice sheet could experience melting annually by 2025.
Last year a phenomenon was experienced where conditions where perfect to create melting across the entire land mass. All by 3 per cent of ice sheets showed dramatic melting during a week-long period commencing on July 8th 2012.
Now, studies of data going back to 1950 indicate the mercury has been steadily rising and on occasions sneaks above the critical 32°F that causes widespread melting in the summer months. The rate of increase is reckoned to be six times higher than the global average.
Another ‘alarm bell’ is the movement of the equilibrium line, a point that divides snow piling up year-to-year as opposed to reducing. It has moved 115 a year on average further up to higher points.
“When our research camp was established, it was put as close as possible to the equilibrium line,” said Dan McGrath of the University of Colorado. “If they put it any lower, it would melt out every year, and if it was higher, it could get buried in snow.”
But when the team returned for the summer season in 2009, he said the surface had melted so much that “it was falling apart. It looked like someone had dropped a bomb on it.”
They relocated the camp, and things were fine in 2010, but the following summer it had melted out again. “That led us to look at things in more depth,” he said.