Rain fell at the highest point on the Greenland ice sheet – possibly for the first time – in an event that Danish scientists said Monday was most likely caused by climate change.
Rain was observed for several hours on Aug. 14 at a monitoring station more than 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) higher on record, the US Snow and Ice Data Center reported.
For rain to fall, temperatures must be above or just below zero degrees Celsius, indicating the risk rising temperatures pose for the world’s second-largest ice sheet after Antarctica.
“This is an extreme event like it may never have happened before,” Martin Stendel, a researcher at the Danish Meteorological Institute, told AFP.
“It is likely that this is a sign of global warming.”
Over the past 2,000 years, temperatures at the top of the leaf have risen just nine times above freezing, he said.
Three of those events were in the past 10 years, but on the previous two occasions, in 2012 and 2019, there was no rain, he said.
“We can’t prove whether it rained the six times before or not, but it’s highly unlikely, which makes the rainfall we’ve seen even more remarkable,” Stendel said.
The rain comes after a summer in which northern Greenland has seen record temperatures of more than 20 degrees.
This heat wave has further accelerated the melting of the ice sheet.
The retreat, which began several decades ago, began to accelerate in 1990.
With an area more than three times the size of France, the ice sheet that covers Greenland holds enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by up to seven meters.
The melting worries scientists, as warming in the Arctic is faster than the global average.
According to a European study published in January, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet is expected to contribute to the overall sea level rise by 10 to 18 centimeters by 2100, 60 percent faster than the previous estimate.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)