Persistent ice melt in Greenland even in winter, new study confirms

The persistent year-round runoff even in the coldest months is the "the greatest contributor to sea level rise."


A new study conducted by the Scottish Association for Marine Sciences revealed that Greenland’s ice sheets are persistently melting even in winter. Confirming that climate change is affecting the the world’s icy ecosystem, SAMS report found that the ice melt is being caused by large waves – caused by stronger than usual winter winds – pushing warm water to the surface of Greenland.

The “coastally trapped internal waves pushing warm water into the fjord and towards the glacier, causing melting hundreds of meters below the ocean surface,” Dr. Neil Fraser, an ocean physicist who led the study, said.

According to an earlier report on Greenland’s ice melt, “the island’s 650,000 cubic miles of ice is melting 50 percent faster than it did in pre-industrial times,” Common Dreams reported.

“Greenland is a bit like a sleeping giant that is awakening,” Edward Hanna, a climate scientist at the University of Lincoln, said in a report by Inside Climate News. “Who knows how it will respond to a couple of more degrees of warming? It could lose a lot of mass very quickly.”

The country’s huge ice sheets are a major contributor to rising sea levels, accounting for 20 percent of the annual increase, SAMS reported. And the persistent year-round runoff even in the coldest months is the “the greatest contributor to sea level rise,” Sarah Das, a researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said.

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