Greenland ice melts 20 times faster than previously thought

The research by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and published in Nature leaves no escape

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Greenland ice melts 20 times faster than previously thought
© Uriel Sinai / Stringer Getty Images News

Greenland's ice is melting faster than the scientific community thought, considering that a recent study showed that 30 million tons of ice are being lost every hour. Research from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and published in Nature shows once again (as if there were still any need) the shocking effects of climate change on our planet.

The resulting global warming is rapidly and inexorably melting all the ice on the planet. And Greenland is destined to lose its ice. According to experts, who analyzed data from 1985 to 2022 thanks to satellites, the estimated ice loss is at least 20% more than previously thought.

Greenland© Mario Tama / Staff Getty Images News

In total, one thousand billion tons of fresh water have been lost since 1985 and would have been dispersed in the oceans: this, experts say, could be a determining factor in the possible weakening of the Amoc.

Most of the ice loss occurred below sea level. The loss likely accelerated the movement of ice flowing down from higher elevations, which in turn contributed to sea level rise. The additional ice represents a significant influx of fresh water into the ocean.

Recent studies have suggested that changes in the salinity of the North Atlantic Ocean due to melting icebergs could weaken the Atlantic Southern Circulation.

Greenland and the climate crisis

Between 1989 and 1993, US and European climate researchers drilled into the summit of the Greenland ice sheet, obtaining a pair of 3km-long ice cores.

Analysis of the stratification and chemical composition of the nuclei provided a groundbreaking new record of climate change in the Northern Hemisphere, dating back to about 100,000 years ago, and demonstrated that the world's weather and temperature have often moved rapidly from one seemingly stable state to another, with global consequences.

Greenland's glaciers are also contributing to global sea level rise faster than previously believed. Between 1991 and 2004, weather monitoring in one location (Swiss Camp) showed that the average winter temperature had increased by almost 6 °C (11 °F).

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