Melting ice in Greenland at the tipping point

Greenland ice melt is close to tipping points, according to the authors of a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Melting ice in Greenland at the tipping point

Greenland ice melt is close to tipping points, according to the authors of a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. CO2 emissions, which have increased with the industrial era, have devastating effects on the planet's ice reserves and could cause irreversible melting in some areas.

Greenland ice sheet, the ice surface of Greenland, is passing two critical volume levels within which there would be an ice loss so large that it would be difficult to fill even in thousands of years. Dennis Höning, scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and lead author of the study, explained: "Once we have emitted more than 1,000 gigatons of carbon in total, we will not be able to prevent the southern part of the Greenland ice sheet from melt completely in the long term, even if future generations stop emitting carbon altogether.

This melting would cause sea levels to rise by approximately 1.8 meters, implying that entire regions would become flooded and potentially uninhabitable." When 1,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere, the southern part of the Greenland ice sheet will be permanently lost.

If 2,500 gigatons were released, it would almost completely disappear. The west and southwest coast, facing the American continent and the warmer winds that blow from it, offers the mildest climate on the island. Since the end of the last century, due to a series of particularly hot summers, the extent of the ice surface has been gradually decreasing.

Furthermore, Nuuk is influenced by the maritime polar climate (mean annual temperature -1.3 °C, March, the coldest month: -7.9 °C, July, the hottest month: 6.7 °C). We recall that between 1991 and 2004, weather tracking at one location (Swiss Camp) showed that the average winter temperature had risen by almost 6°C (11°F).

Other measurements have shown that the heaviest snowfall from the North Atlantic Oscillation caused the internal ice sheet to thicken by an average of 6 cm between 1994 and 2005.

Photo Credits: Pic by NASA website