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.