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Greenland Ice Loss Increased Four Fold


The satellite mission Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), set up in the early 2000's, has been used to monitor ice loss across Greenland. The results showed that the loss of ice between 2003-2013 increased from 285 tonne per annum, to over 1100 tonnes each year.

The Negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation, which occurs during summer time, results in increased melting across Greenland. However due to global warming, the annual increase of 4°C is enhanced when the surface is already at a greater temperature.

"These oscillations have been happening forever... so why only now are they causing this massive melt? It's because the atmosphere is, at its baseline, warmer. The transient warming driven by the North Atlantic Oscillation was riding on top of more sustained global warming," Professor Michael Bevis, Ohio State University (BBC).

Models created from the data collected during the GRACE programme, illustrate that in potentially only a decade, global warming will be able to provide the same rates of runoff, without the assistance of the NAO. With the NAO and global warming working together, the rate of Ice loss will be enormous and the contribution of melting to rising sea levels, significant.


Image: NASA

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