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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.

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