Precipitation at the Summit of Greenland fell as rain for the 1st time brought two miles above sea level on August 14. At the Greenland summit, the temperatures for the 3rd time rose above the freezing point in less than a decade. Throughout August 14, the US National Science Foundation’s summit station scientists saw rain falling. The precipitation was so unexpected that the scientists did not have any gauges to measure the rainfall. On hot three days in Greenland, the rain fell. The warm air caused extreme rain that dumped 7 billion tons of water on the ice sheet. Previously no rainfall has been recorded at that location and elevation, a height of 10,551 feet.
According to the scientists, on August 14, melt extent peaked at 872,000 square kilometers, on the 15 droppings to 754,000 square kilometers, and on August 16, 512,000 square. The scientist said the temperature increase started at 5 a.m local time on August 14 when moisture and warm air came from the south. At Summit Station, temperatures exceeded the freezing point on August 14. The rain was observed for the next many hours, and water droplets were seen on surfaces near the camp. Snow surface began to form thin sheets of ice crystals at about 1400 UTC as the rain froze into the snow. From the southwest, winds were 9.8 meters per second with a mix of freezing and non-freezing rain.
Through the evening, the temperature fell steadily. In the late evening, there were clear skies, a sharp cooling brought temperatures to -8.5 degrees Celsius, early on August 15. On August 15 and 16, the temperatures at Summit did not reach the melting point. During the three days above freezing, rainfall and temperatures were widespread to the west and south of Greenland.
Greenland is the 2nd largest ice body globally. It covers an area of 1,710,000 square kilometers and roughly 79% of the surface of Greenland. Along with the ice sheet, it has smaller ice caps, and glaciers are there. The summit station is the only high latitude and altitude observation station in the Arctic, first established in 1989 as a drill site. It is located at the top of the Greenland ice sheet. The nearest land is about 250 miles away. The temperature is around 32 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and minus 88 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.
According to National Snow and Ice Data Center, since the record-keeping began in 1950 on the ice sheet, it was the heaviest rainfall. The ice mass lost on August 15 was seven times higher than the daily average for this time of year. Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, said this is proof Greenland is warming quickly. Over their scientists can observe changes in the ice and Arctic weather. This time, most of the rain fell from the southeast coast of Greenland up to the Summit Station.
Due to the rain, the operation at the summit station has to be changed. Weather events have to be considered that they never faced before. Over the last ten years, there are increased weather events like high winds, melting, and now rain, and all these have happened outside the range of what is considered normal. These conditions are frequently occurring. A report from the UN climate department said that the burning of possible fuel leads to the melting of ice on Greenland.
The recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that the carbon emission from human activities was heating Earth and responsible for the rising sea levels and melting of snow. In May, it was reported that an essential part of the Greenland Ice Sheet was nearing to cover the end or extremity, after which quick melting would happen even if global heating halted. The massive ice sheet can melt quickly when the temperature rises. But warmer ocean water is also is gradually destroying the ice sheet around the edges.
Previously in July of this year, Greenland had ice-meting episodes. In a single day, lost 8.5 billion tons of surface mass. In the past century, it happened the 4th time. Previously it happened in 1995, 2012, and 2019. According to research, since the mid-1990s, Earth has lost 28 trillion tonnes of ice. A large of ice was lost from Artic, including Greenland.
In 2019, Greenland shed around 532 billion tons of ice into the sea. July heatwave and hot spring caused the ice to melt. There is a permanent rise in global sea level by 1.5 millimeters due to this. The ice loss was enough to raise the international ocean level by 0.06 inches. The amount might seem small, but it’s a matter of concern. Between September 2019 and August 2020, the melt rate was low, and according to scientists, it was partly due to unusual atmospheric circulation centered over Greenland.
Researchers have found that changes on the Greenland ice sheet and changes on sea ice appear to occur independently of each other. Temperature changes in the layers of water in the ocean beneath effects sea ice, and atmospheric temperature rise affects Greenland. The finding suggests that Arctic sea ice will be diminished, but the Greenland ice sheet will remain long.
As Greenland continues to have warmer weather, coastal cities across the globe are vulnerable to storm-surge flooding, especially when extreme weather and high tide happen simultaneously. Over the past few decades, 25% of the global sea level has risen due to the Greenland ice melting. This is expected to rise as the global temperature keeps on increasing.
The rain will have a long-term effect on the properties of snow and left of the crust of ice which will observe more energy from the sun until it gets buried by snow. The crusty layer will prevent the downward draining of meltwater; because of this, the ice sheet’s surface will be flooded and initiate runoff at higher elevations. Global sea level would rise 6 meters if all of Greenland’s ice melted, but this will take centuries or millennia to occur. Since 1994 trillions of tones of ice have been lost from Greenland, pushing up sea levels, and all the coastal cities are at risk. It has more than two trillion tonnes of water locked up in the blanket of ice.
The Arctic is also warming twice as quickly as the rest of the place under climate change. Global average temperatures prison above 1 degree celsius because of fossil fuel and the growth of industries in the mid 19th century. The Arctic region has warmed by almost 2 degrees Celsius so far. As humans release heat-trapping greenhouse gas, the warming atmosphere melts the fresh white ice. The white ice reflects the sun’s energy into space.
The dark ice below gets exposed by this ice melting, which absorbs the solar energy and causes the ice to melt. According to scientists, the rate at which climate change is happening, melting ice will occur more frequently unless emissions are reduced. Meaningful climate actions and targets can still limit the global sea-level rise and reduce the damage done to infrastructure and people by flooding. Scientists fear that Greenland may suffer accelerated levels of melting in the coming decades.