Greenland’s ice sheet melts by record amount due to climate change, study shows

As if coronavirus in’st enough to worry about, Greenland’s ice sheet experienced record melting last year that was driven by hotter temperatures and more frequent atmospheric circulation patterns triggered by climate change, scientists have confirmed.

The stark findings show that researchers could also be underestimating future melting by about half, as most models that project future ice loss do not account for impacts from changing atmospheric circulation patterns, according to the study led by Marco Tedesco, a researcher at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Greenland’s ice sheet experienced the largest outright drop in “surface mass” — or how much mass is lost due to melting compared to mass gained from snowfall — since record-keeping began in 1948, according to the study published in The Cryosphere.

Researchers warn that climate change will make the destructive high-pressure atmospheric conditions more common in Greenland, the biggest contributor to global sea level rise.

“Simulations of future impacts are very likely underestimating the mass loss due to climate change,” said Tedesco. “It’s almost like missing half of the melting.”

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