Worryingly, Scientists Can Wear T-Shirts in Greenland

Ice melt has accelerated in recent days
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2022 9:20 AM CDT
It's T-Shirt Weather in Greenland. Scientists Are Worried
Icebergs float away as the sun rises near Kulusuk, Greenland.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

T-shirt weather has arrived for a group of people who would be a lot happier with colder temperatures: researchers stationed on Greenland's ice sheet. Scientists tell CNN that temperatures in some areas are around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, 10 degrees higher than normal. The spike in heat has triggered rapid melting in recent days. "It definitely worries me," University of Texas research scientist Kutalmis Saylam says. "Yesterday we could wander around in our T-shirts—that was not really expected."

University of Copenhagen climate scientist Aslak Grinsted, who is stationed in northwest Greenland, says the heat has destabilized a landing site for ski-equipped planes, making it impossible to ship out ice cores his team has collected. For now, they're being stored in caves in the snow. The melting between July 15 and 17 alone sent 6 billion tons of water a day into the ocean, which CNN reports is enough to cover West Virginia in a foot of water—or New Jersey in 3 feet of water. Greenland's ice sheet is two miles thick in some spots, and sea levels would rise 24 feet if it all melted, the New York Times previously reported.

Scientists are worried that this year's Greenland melt could exceed the 2019's record melt of 532 billion tons of ice. In a study released last month, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory warned that the Arctic is heating up more than four times faster than the rate of global warming. The researchers said their analysis detected two big steps upward in the warming trend, one in 1986 and one in 1999, that were missed by most other climate models. (In 2019, melting ice in Greenland claimed the life of a renowned climate scientist.)

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