Forget about ice skating in Greenland: The island nation's surface ice is melting at a nearly record rate as Europe's heat wave moves into the Arctic, CNN reports. And by melting, we mean 11 billion tons on Thursday alone; 11 billion tons on Wednesday, per the CBC; and 7 billion tons the day before that, per National Geographic. All told, it was enough to fill more than 11 billion Olympic-size swimming pools. It's common for Greenland's ice sheet to melt over the summer, and the worst ever on record was in 2012, when 97% of the ice sheet was at least partly melted. But with July's global average temperatures nearly breaking the all-time record—which was in July 2016—scientists are ringing alarm bells.
"Locally, we're changing ecosystems for the people" near the melt, climate scientist Twila Moon tells NPR. "We're also adding cold freshwater to the ocean and changing how it behaves. But when we zoom out globally, the biggest concern is sea level rise. Any of this ice that we're losing from land is going into the ocean, raising sea levels." That rise is incremental, with the 2012 melt adding only eight-tenths of a millimeter worldwide, but global average sea levels are up 7 to 8 inches over the past hundred years, nearly 40% of it since 1993. And in another climate headache, the Arctic is experiencing a bad rash of seasonal wildfires that are burning up more organic material and releasing more carbon dioxide than usual, per the Globe and Mail. (Read more climate change stories.)