Rain showers in Greenland linked to climate change

Rising sea levels, shrinking mountain glaciers and ice melting at a faster-than-normal rate in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are all signs that climate change is occurring. But climate change can present itself in many other ways, such as rain in Greenland.

According to the New York Times, rainfall was recorded by the Summit Research Station for the first time in recorded history. On August 14 and 15 of this year, 7 billion tons of water fell on the ice sheet.

“It’s incredible, because it does write a new chapter in the book of Greenland,” Marco Tedesco, a researcher at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, said. “This is really new.”

Thomas Mote, a climate scientist at the University of Georgia, explained that at the Summit Research Station, there has been no record of rainfall in Greenland since the establishment of observation in the 1980s.

“What is going on is not simply a warm decade or two in a wandering climate pattern,” said Ted Scambos, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. “This is unprecedented. We are crossing thresholds not seen in millennia, and frankly this is not going to change until we adjust what we’re doing to the air.”

The scientists who have studied this phenomenon attribute the cause of the rainfall to an anticyclone — an atmospheric event known for high pressure — that causes air to sink, and warm as it sinks.

Computer simulations from before the establishment of rainfall observation also show that there was no rain even before the 1980s.

But rainfall was not the only unusual weather observation that occurred at the research station.

In Summit, above-freezing conditions are almost as rare as rainfall. According to Martin Stendel, a senior researcher at the Danish Meteorological Institute, ice cores showed that above-freezing temperatures only occurred six times in the past 2,000 years.

However, above-freezing temperatures have occurred in this area in 2012, 2019 and 2021 — three times in fewer than 10 years.

Joe Hernandez, a reporter for National Public Radio, stated that the Arctic region is warming twice as quickly as the rest of the planet under climate change.

Because of the higher than normal temperatures, melting has become more common in Greenland.

In July 2021, Green had a large-scale melting episode. According to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center,  2021 is one of only four years, in which the country saw widespread melting. The other years were 2019, 2012 and 1995.

In a landmark report released by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, scientists warned Earth was expected to reach the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming as a result of climate change, within 20 years.

General António Guterres described global warming as a “code red for humanity,” and warned that heat waves, droughts and floods would become more common as the planet warms.

Because of the rise in temperatures in Greenland, approximately 872,000 square kilometers of ice melted on August 14, alone.

In fact, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that 2021 is the second year to have a melting event that resulted in more than 800,000 square kilometers being lost to a rise in temperatures.

According to scientists, large-scale melt events in Greenland are growing more and more common as the years come and go.

“That is happening more frequently with climate change, and it’s bad for the ice sheet,” William Colgan, a senior researcher for the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, said.

This has become even more concerning when scientists discovered that the ice in Greenland is melting faster than it has ever melted in any time in the past 12,000 years.

It is said that as of today, around 40% of the Arctic is greener than it was in 1986.

As the ice continues to melt, more and more problems reveal themselves.

As polar ice is lost, there is a higher likelihood that a positive feedback loop would occur.

This means that as the amount of ice on the planet decreases, the Earth becomes less and less reflective of sunlight. Because of this, more sunlight is absorbed, resulting in even more global warming.

But global warming is not the only problem that results from the melting of ice in the Arctic and Antarctic Circles.

In fact, Greenland and Antarctica have lost enough ice within the last 16 years to fill all of Lake Michigan.

If the proper precautions are not taken, it is reported that if all of Greenland’s ice melted, the global sea level would rise by approximately six meters (19.685 feet).