Over 40% of the region experienced melting in the middle of June, which is highly unusual.
During the “melt season” in the Arctic region (which happens every year), it’s natural for higher levels of solid chunks of ice to dissolve into water, but this time the amount of ice lost is highly unusual.
This year, more than 2 gigatonnes of ice melted IN JUST A SINGLE DAY. Over 40% of the region experienced melting in the middle of June, which is highly unusual.
In a CNN report, Thomas Mote, a research scientist at the University of Georgia, said that “It is comparable to some spikes we saw in June of 2012.”
Mote was referring to that time in 2012, in which the country experienced its first record-breaking ice loss. Greenland lost almost its entire ice sheet during that moment.
According to Mote, the melting of ice and snow off the Greenland ice sheet, especially happening earlier than expected, will make it easier for additional melting to happen later in summertime.
Mote explained that white snow and ice (which reflects the sun’s rays back into space due to its brightness) lessens the amount of heat that is absorbed.
Mote said that these melt events resulted in a changed surface albedo and that all signs indicate to a bigger melt season. He also pointed out that he is not the only expert who think so.
Jason Box, ice climatologist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, said that “2019 will be a big melt year for Greenland.” He predicted this in late May. He noted that the melting season occurred 3 weeks earlier than the average and also earlier than the record-setting event in 2012.
Experts noted that the snow cover during this time was lower than average in Western Greenland. Along with the other factors they mentioned, this means that it’s going to be a very big melt happening in 2019 and will likely exceed the record set in 2012.
Mote said that the steady weather pattern is responsible for the current increase in ice melting. There’s a blocking ridge that has been latched over East Greenland throughout most of the spring season. This resulted to some melting activity in April. The particular pattern has persisted.
“Greenland has been an increasing contributor to global sea level rise over the past two decades and surface melting and runoff is a large portion of that,” said Mote.
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