Greenland is at its warmest in 1,000 years – study

Temperatures in parts of Greenland are warmer than they have been in 1,000 years, the co-author of a study that reconstructed conditions by drilling deep into the ice sheet told AFP on Friday.

“This confirms the bad news that we unfortunately already know… (from) clearly we need to get this warming under control in order to stop the melting of the Greenland ice sheet,” assistant professor of climatology Bo Mollesoe Vinther from the University of Copenhagen told AFP.

Sea level rise

By drilling into the ice sheet to retrieve samples of snow and ice from hundreds of years ago, scientists have been able to reconstruct temperatures from northern and central Greenland from the year 1000 AD to 2011.

Their results, published in the scientific journal Nature, show that the warming recorded in the decade from 2001-2011 “exceeds the range of pre-industrial temperature variability in the past millennium with hypothetical certainty.”

During that decade, the study found, the temperature was “on average 1.5°C warmer than in the 20th century”.

Also read: Greenland is quietly taking on tourism as its icebergs melt

The melting of the Greenland ice sheet is already causing sea levels to rise, threatening millions of people living along coasts that could find themselves underwater in the coming decades or centuries.

The Greenland ice sheet is currently the main driver of inflation of Earth’s oceans, according to NASA, with the Arctic region warming at a faster rate than the rest of the planet.

Greenland ice sheet versus climate change

In a landmark 2021 report on climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the Greenland ice sheet would contribute up to 18 cm of sea level rise by 2100 under the higher emissions scenario.

The massive ice sheet, two kilometers thick, contains enough frozen water to raise global seas by more than seven meters (23 feet) in all.

Under the Paris climate agreement, countries agreed to limit temperature rises to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Also Read: Severe Greenland Ice Melt Increases Global Flood Risk – Study

“The global warming signal that we’re seeing around the world has also found its way to these very remote locations on the Greenland ice sheet,” said Vinther.

“We need to stop this before we get to the point where we have this vicious cycle of self-sustaining Greenland ice melt,” he warned.

“The more the better.”

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