Satellite image shows meltwater ponding on the surface of the ice sheet in northwest Greenland near the sheets edge on Monday, July 30, 2019. While the heat wave broke in Western Europe after a few days, extreme temperatures shifted north and triggered enormous ice melts in Greenland and the Arctic.
Complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet could raise sea levels 23 feet by the year 3000. Greenlands ice is already the worlds biggest single factor to sea-level rise.
Snowfall can no longer renew the ice lost as Greenlands glaciers retreat, so it will keep melting and trigger catastrophic sea-level increase, even if worldwide temperatures stop rising.The climate crisis might bring about other tipping points in the Arctic and the Amazon, however there may still be time to avoid those.Visit Business Insiders homepage for more stories.Greenlands ice sheet may have struck a tipping point that sets it on an irreversible course to completely disappearing.Snowfall that typically renews Greenlands glaciers each year can no longer keep up with the pace of ice melt, according to researchers at Ohio State University. That implies that the Greenland ice sheet– the worlds second-largest ice body– would continue to lose ice even if international temperatures stop rising.In their study, released Thursday in the journal Nature, the scientists reviewed 40 years of monthly satellite information from more than 200 big glaciers that are draining pipes into the ocean across Greenland.
NASA via Associated Press
” Glacier retreat has actually knocked the characteristics of the entire ice sheet into a continuous state of loss,” Ian Howat, a glaciologist and co-author on the paper, said in the release. There is still time to avoid irreparable pathways to other calamities.There are more points of no returnThe quantity of ice Greenland loses each year has actually steadily increased in the last 2 years. Before 2000, the researchers found, the ice sheet had an equal opportunity of losing or gaining mass each year.
Greenland disposed an extraordinary quantity of ice and water into the ocean during the summer season of 2019, when a heat wave from Europe washed over the island. The ice sheet lost 55 billion heaps of water over five days– sufficient to cover the state of Florida in practically 5 inches of water.
Ice melt formed whitewaters in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland on August 1, 2019.
Caspar Haarloev from “Into the Ice” documentary by means of Reuters
Melt causes more melt, as water pooling across the ice sheet takes in more sunlight and additional heats everything around it. Thats why tipping points like Greenlands speed up ice loss so much.Rising international temperatures and particular human activities can produce tipping points in other parts of the world, too.In the Arctic, ice melt is exposing permafrost– frozen soil that releases effective greenhouse gases when it defrosts. If warming thaws enough permafrost, the gases launched will trap heat much faster than human beings fossil-fuel emissions.
In the Amazon rain forest, humans have been cutting and burning trees for several years, permitting moisture to leave the ecosystem. Enough logging could trigger a process called “dieback,” in which the jungle would dry up, burn, and become a savanna-like landscape, launching up to 140 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. Last year, leading rain forest researchers warned that the Amazon is “teetering on the edge” of that limit.
The 4 phases of land management on a huge livestock farm in the Brazilian Amazon: clear land where the forest has actually just recently been burned and turf will be grown (foreground), a pasture waiting for the livestock (right), forest being burned to make pasture (background), and native forest which will quickly go through the same (left).
Still, researchers state that switching to less carbon-intensive types of energy, like solar energy, and reducing unsustainable mining and logging can assist us avoid those disasters.Even for the Greenland ice sheet, the future holds more tipping points– degrees of collapse that will speed up the glaciers melt a lot more. Restricting global warming might delay those tipping points and give the world more time to prepare.” Weve passed the defining moment, but theres clearly more to come,” Howat informed CNN. “Rather than being a single tipping point in which weve gone from a pleased ice sheet to a quickly collapsing ice sheet, its more of a staircase where weve fallen off the first step but theres lots of more steps to go down into the pit.”
Thats why tipping points like Greenlands speed up ice loss so much.Rising global temperatures and specific human activities can bring about tipping points in other parts of the world, too.In the Arctic, ice melt is exposing permafrost– frozen soil that launches powerful greenhouse gases when it thaws. “Rather than being a single tipping point in which weve gone from a pleased ice sheet to a rapidly collapsing ice sheet, its more of a staircase where weve fallen off the very first step but theres lots of more actions to go down into the pit.”
Snowfall can no longer replenish the ice lost as Greenlands glaciers retreat, so it will keep melting and trigger devastating sea-level rise, even if worldwide temperatures stop rising.The climate crisis could bring about other tipping points in the Arctic and the Amazon, however there might still be time to prevent those.Visit Business Insiders homepage for more stories.Greenlands ice sheet may have hit a tipping point that sets it on an irreversible path to entirely disappearing.Snowfall that normally replenishes Greenlands glaciers each year can no longer keep up with the pace of ice melt, according to researchers at Ohio State University. That implies that the Greenland ice sheet– the worlds second-largest ice body– would continue to lose ice even if worldwide temperatures stop rising.In their research study, published Thursday in the journal Nature, the researchers reviewed 40 years of monthly satellite data from more than 200 large glaciers that are draining pipes into the ocean across Greenland.” What weve discovered is that the ice thats releasing into the ocean is far surpassing the snow thats collecting on the surface area of the ice sheet,” Michalea King, the research studys lead author and scientist at Ohio State Universitys Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, said in a press release.