GREENLAND ICE SHRINKS
SCIENTISTS think Greenland’s ice sheet may have shrunk past the point of return.
The melting of the glaciers across the giant island in the Arctic is leading to rising sea levels worldwide.
It’s normal for some of Greenland’s frozen ocean water to melt in the summer, but this is usually balanced by snowfall and very low temperatures in the winter, which causes the water to refreeze.
But scientists who studied data on 234 glaciers across the island, spanning 34 years up to 2018, found that annual snowfall was no longer enough to restore the snow and ice lost to melting.
The Arctic has been warming at least twice as quickly as the rest of the world for the past 30 years. This caused the lowest levels of polar sea ice in July for 40 years last month. The average sea ice area for July 2020 was 2.81 million square miles – that’s 846,000 square miles below the July average, and 120,000 square miles below the previous record low for July, set only last year. The new study suggests that Greenland will now only grow in mass once every 100 years.
In more worrying news about the environment, the hottest temperature on Earth appears to have been recorded in Death Valley National Park, California, USA (below). The thermometer there reached 54.4°C on Sunday 16 August as a heatwave hit America’s west coast.
The previous highest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 54°C, also at Death Valley, in 2013.
The new reading, which was taken at the appropriately named Furnace Creek in the park, is being checked by the US National Weather Service.