A new research published in the Nature Climate Change Journal revealed that Greenland’s ice melting could be extremely dangerous. As the temperatures keep rising due to the climate change, the ice that covers almost entirely the Greenland island is starting to shrink. If the ice will melt entirely, then the sea levels will increase with 23 feet.
Greenland is a country situated between the Atlantic Oceans and the Arctic. Greenland is the largest island in the world, and it is the least populated country, with only 56,480 inhabitants registered in 2013.
Only in the past century, Greenland has lost more than 9 trillion tons of ice. According to NASA, every year, Greenland is losing 287 billion tons of ice. The lost ice is caused by the melting of the ice sheet or by the large ice chunks that are detaching from the island.
In the past, researchers believed that even though the global warming was endangering the famous ice island, the firn of Greenland would be able to decrease the effects of the temperature change. The firn is the pack that stay on top of the ice and stores the melting water and stops it from running into the ocean. This maintains the ice sheet even in higher temperatures.
In the past, researchers said that the firn was capable of storing large amounts of water. In the years that came, Greenland’s ice sheet was exposed to warm, unprecedented summers in 2010 and 2012. In 2012, the largest melt of ice was recorded on the island. This study reveals that the firn is not as absorbent as it was in the past. It is also denser and not as porous.
The study used data collected from 2009 to 2015. The data contained information on the drills that have been done in the West part of Greeland’s firn. When the temperatures were really high in 2010 and 2012, the big amounts of water transformed the porous firn into an impenetrable ice layer. The years that followed proved that the water could no longer be absorbed by the firn, and went in the ocean instead.
The author of the study, William Colgan from the York University said that at the beginning of the study, he and his team believed that the firn could act as a big sponge that could absorb any amount of melted water. Unfortunately, the study concluded that the firn has a limited capacity and that it can’t act like a sponge anymore.
The study published on Monday revealed that Greenland’s ice melting could be extremely dangerous is an important discovery and a step forward for the scientists.
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