The bad news earlier this week was sent back from the Arctic, a giant block of ice – larger than the city of Paris – broke off the Greenland’s largest ice shelf due to rising temperatures in the area.
The 113 square kilometer ice block has collapsed from Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, an ice bay 80 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide northeast of Greenland.
The Danish National Geological Survey and Greenland said they had anticipated the rupture before. However, when that block of ice broke, it made waves in both the Arctic Ocean and the Western newspapers.
The melting of the Arctic ice shelves in recent years is arguably the best demonstration of climate change taking place on the planet. It even contributes to the rise in sea levels around the world.
A mass of ice wider than Paris separates from Greenland
The bad news this time comes from a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change by the Danish Geological Survey and Greenland (GEUS). Every year at the end of the thawing season, GEUS conducts surveys of the Arctic’s largest ice shelf to track its melting rate.
According to data obtained in 1999, the area of the Greenland ice shelf has decreased by 160 square kilometers – almost double that of Manhattan Island in New York. The situation even worsened when in the past two years, about 50 square kilometers of ice continues to melt each year.
“We are observing the rate of melting rising on this largest remaining ice shelf,” said Professor Jason Box at GEUS.
Satellite images provided by the Danish and Greenland Geological Survey show the ice cap at the mouth of the Spalte River, Greenland, broke the structure of the Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden Bay where water flows from the mainland into the Arctic Ocean:
Although it is normal for ice fragments to break out of glaciers – a separation process likened to childbearing ice shelves – but the size of the broken ice cubes is usually not that large. This split ice sheet in Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden Bay measures 113 square kilometers – wider than the city of Paris.
From the deck of a GEUS team ice-hunting ship, researchers could see an area that was once a thick block of ice now turned into soft, spongy layers of ice that slid into the ocean and bobbed on top of the waves.
According to Jenny Turton, a researcher at Friedrich-Alexander Erlangen-Nurnberg University in Germany, heat waves in recent years have caused the sharp split of the ice shelf in Greenland.
“Each summer, water from the Greenland glacial shelf falls onto the glacier’s tongue [Spalte] will form river flows and craters on its surface. Then in winter, the additional water freezes which puts additional pressure on the floating ice blades, which can lead to splitting.Turston explained in the study.
The new split event also reflects the development of Zachariae, a nearby glacier that also collapsed into the ocean in 2015, the scientists say.
Melting records are being broken continuously, the sea level will rise 10 cm by the end of the century
Climate change is raising temperatures in the Arctic in recent times, causing the solid ice covering the Arctic Ocean to shrink to a severely low level.
According to data collected, summer 2020 will be the time when Arctic ice will shrink to the second lowest level in four decades. It is not far from a record low of 3.41 million square kilometers in September 2012, after the ice shelf here was mechanically hit by a cyclone late in the season.
However, the main cause of melting still comes from continuously rising temperatures. Since 1980, average temperatures in the Arctic have risen about 3 degrees Celsius and are expected to hit a record by 2020. Scientists predict it could even lead to ice-free summers in the Arctic. .
“Not long ago, I heard we would have 100 years to do something before the Arctic had no ice in the summer.“says researcher Paul Ruzycki at GEUS.”Then I heard the number 75 years, 25 years, and recently I heard it was 15 years. It is accelerating. “
Professor Jason Box added: ““If we continue to see more warmer summers as we have in the last two years, it will contribute more to the rapid rise of global sea levels.”
According to a study published in the scientific journal Nature in December, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet between 1992 and 2018 contributed to the rise of the sea level by 1.1 cm.
A more recent study by the University of Lincoln in the UK predicted that Greenland melting ice could raise sea level 10 to 12 centimeters by 2100.
Chain reaction can not be stopped, the Arctic has more rain than snow
Since 1980, when satellite technology was first applied to observe ice in the Arctic, its minimum coverage has decreased by 31%. The ice shelf here has also lost about 2/3 of its mass, because most of the thick ice that has accumulated over the years has long melted.
The disappearance of the sea ice also formed an irreversible vortex. Melting ice causes areas that reflect the sun to be replaced by dark seawater. They absorb more solar radiation, further accelerating warming.
This process is called “Arctic Amplifier “, which helps to explain why, for the past four decades, the rate of warming is twice as fast as that of the rest of the world.
Another paradox contributing to the rate of ice thaw in the Arctic is that the region receives more and more rain than snow falls. Rain penetrates the ice and causes it to melt more strongly.
“All of that will make it impossible for us to go back to any milestones from 30 to 40 years ago”, says climatologist Julienne Stroeve at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo.
And as climate change continues, scientists say the Arctic will remain a heavily affected area. Its future and its species are an increasingly unpredictable and unpredictable variable.