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These Stunning Photos Show A “Major Melting Event” Hitting Greenland’s Ice Sheet

"This is not science fiction. It is the reality of climate change."

Posted on August 2, 2019, at 5:01 p.m. ET

Greenland’s massive ice sheet is experiencing one of its biggest melting events on record, losing some 11 billion tons of ice in a 24-hour period after Earth’s hottest June and July in recorded history.

Temperatures in Europe have soared to record highs this summer in an ongoing trend of longer summers and excessive heat due to climate change. Hot air originating in North Africa broke records in major cities across Europe last month before making its way to the Greenland ice sheet.

According to NASA, Greenland’s glaciers are undergoing a “major melting event,” with billions of tons of meltwater draining into the Atlantic Ocean — enough to cover the entire state of Florida with nearly five inches of water. Over half of the Greenland ice sheet has softened as a direct result of this heat, which has caused an immediate rise in sea water.

“July has re-written climate history, with dozens of new temperature records at local, national and global level,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

“The extraordinary heat was accompanied by dramatic ice melt in Greenland, in the Arctic and on European glaciers. Unprecedented wildfires raged in the Arctic for the second consecutive month, devastating once pristine forests which used to absorb carbon dioxide and instead turning them into fiery sources of greenhouse gases. This is not science fiction. It is the reality of climate change. It is happening now and it will worsen in the future without urgent climate action,” Taalas said.

These pictures show how climate change has resulted in catastrophic damage to the Greenland ice sheet.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Visitors look out onto free-floating ice in the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather near Ilulissat, Greenland.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

An iceberg floats in Disko Bay behind houses in Ilulissat, Greenland.

Caspar Haarløv / AP

Large rivers of melting water form on an ice sheet in Western Greenland and drain into moulin holes that empty into the ocean from underneath the ice.

Caspar Haarløv, Into the Ice via AP

Large rivers of melting water form on an ice sheet in Western Greenland and drain into moulin holes that empty into the ocean from underneath the ice.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Free-floating ice in the Ilulissat Icefjord.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

In this aerial view, melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice in the Ilulissat Icefjord.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Inuit fishers prepare a net among ice floating at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

A boat carrying tourists motors past an iceberg at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Water drips from melting ice in the Ilulissat Icefjord.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Inuit fishers prepare a net as ice free-floats behind them at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord.

NASA / AP

Meltwater ponds on the surface of the ice sheet in northwest Greenland near the sheet’s edge.

Caspar Haarløv, Into the Ice via AP

Large rivers of melting water form on an ice sheet in Western Greenland.

Caspar Haarløv, Into the Ice via AP

Large rivers of melting water form on an ice sheet in Western Greenland and drain into moulin holes that empty into the ocean from underneath the ice.

Caspar Haarløv, Into the Ice via AP

Melt water from the ice sheet flows into the fjord near Kangerlussaq in Western Greenland.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Flowers grow on a hillside at the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather.




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