The Greenland ice sheet covers 660,235 square miles, which is roughly 80% of Greenland’s surface. After the Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Greenland ice sheet is the second-largest ice body in the world. It’s almost 1,500 miles long in a north-south direction, with a width of 680 miles. The mean altitude of the ice is 7,005 feet.
And all of this is melting.
According to the University of Bristol research, Greenland’s freshwater losses have expedited since 1990, with the southeast of the island observing losses increase by 50% in less than 20 years.
“Greenland has been losing increasing amounts of mass. What had been unclear was how much of that was due to losing water to the ocean instead of factors like reduced snowfall,” stated Professor Jonathan Bamber from the School of Geographical Sciences.
Such an increase in the amount of freshwater running into the Atlantic could cause conflict with the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which is the current that moves warm tropical water to northern Europe. Another consequence is that it could also decrease the ocean’s ability to store carbon.
In recent years, the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced record melting and is likely to contribute substantially to sea-level rise.
If the entire ice sheet melts, global sea levels will rise 23.6 feet. Recently, fears have grown that continued climate change will make the Greenland Ice Sheet cross a threshold where the ice sheet’s long-term melting is inevitable. Climate models predict that local warming in Greenland will be 3 °C (5.4 °F) to 9 °C (16.2 °F) during this century. This rise would flood nearly every major coastal city in the world.