Rainfall on the ice peak of Greenland
- For the first time, rain has fallen on the ice peak of Greenland.
- Rain fell for the first time on record at the highest point on the Greenland ice sheet last week.
- This is another troubling sign of warming for the ice sheet, which is already melting at an increasing rate.
- It’s not good to have water on ice. It makes the ice sheet more vulnerable to melting on the surface.
- Water is not only warmer than snow, but it is also darker, allowing it to absorb more sunlight.
- Sea levels are rising as a result of this meltwater flowing into the ocean.
- Greenland’s ice sheet, which is the world’s second-largest behind Antarctica’s, has already contributed to nearly 25% of global sea level rise in recent decade
- As global temperatures rise, this percentage is predicted to rise.
- On August 14 rain poured for many hours above the ice sheet’s 3,216-meter peak, where temperatures were above freezing for roughly nine hours.
- The ice cap’s temperatures usually seldom rise above freezing, yet they have done so three times in less than a decade.
- From August 14 to August 16, Greenland received 7 billion tonnes of rain, the most since records began in 1950.
- Rain and high temperatures caused widespread melting around the island, which saw a seven-fold increase in surface ice mass loss on August 15 compared to the usual for mid-August.
- In late July, Greenland had a huge melting episode, with enough ice melting in a single day to cover the United States state of Florida in 2 inches (5 cm) of water.
- Both the melting and the rain last week were caused by air circulation patterns that resulted in warm, wet air covering the island for a short time.
The major concern:
- The worrying rain at Greenland’s peak is not an unusual event.
- It is one of several “alarm bells” signalling the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions alongside rising floods, fires, and other extremes.
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS3 (Environment)