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Rainfall At Ice Summit In Greenland For First Time Ever

Rainfall At Ice Summit In Greenland For First Time Ever
For the first time since records were kept, there was rainfall at the highest point on the Greenland ice sheet last week. According to scientists, this is a troublesome sign that the ice sheet was already warming and melting at an increasing rate.
"That's not a healthy sign for an ice sheet," said Indrani Das, a glaciologist with Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "Water on ice is bad. … It makes the ice sheet more prone to surface melt."
In addition to being warmer, the water is also darker than before which means that it will absorb more sunlight than before than reflecting it away.
There is also a rise in sea levels because the water from the melted ice sheet is running into the sea. Over the last few decades, there has been a rise of about 25 per cent in global sea levels because of the melting of the ice sheet of Greenland – which is the second largest ice sheet after Antarctica's. And with rise in global temperatures, that rise is expected ot continue further and faster.
Scientists at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center said that the rainfall at the ice sheet's 3,216-metre summit on August 14 occurred for a number of hours and the temperature there was above freezing for about nine hours in total.
The temperatures at the ice cap have historically hardly ever gone above the freezing point but that has not happened at least three times in less than a decade.
Between August 14 and 16, a total of 7 billion tonnes of rain fell across Greenland within this span of three days which is the largest amount since records began in 1950.
There was extensive melting of ice across the island because of the rain and high temperatures resulting in a loss of surface ice mass on August 15 that was more than seven times that of the average for mid-August.
This first time rain at the Greenland ice cap was one among several warning signs about the ice sheet being affected by climate change.
In late July, there was an across the island in Greenland with as much ice melted in a single day that was enough to cover the US state of Florida in 2 inches (5 cm) of water.
Air circulation patterns which resulted in warm, moist air temporarily covering the island was responsible for both the melting incident and the rain at the ice cap last week.
"This alarming rain at the summit of Greenland is not an isolated event," said Twila Moon, deputy lead scientist with the US National Snow and Ice Data Center.
She said that the unusual events in Greenland, along with rising floods, fires, and other extreme weather events, are one of many "alarm bells" that signal the acute need for a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases.
"We really have to stay laser-focused on adapting, as well as reducing the potential for those to become truly devastating."

Christopher J. Mitchell

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