The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than scientists previously thought

18 January, 2024

Greenland is losing close to 30 million tonnes of ice – every hour. According to the researchers behind a new study, this could mean that Greenland’s ice sheet has reached an irreversible breaking point.

Greenland’s ice sheet is melting at a faster rate than scientists previously estimated. Photo: Martina Holmberg/TT Archive image. .

The new findings mean that Greenland is losing 20 percent more ice than previous calculations showed. In total, it is estimated that over 1,000 gigatons of ice have disappeared in the last 40 years.

“The changes in Greenland are colossal and they are happening everywhere – almost all the glaciers have shrunk in recent decades,” Chad Greene of the US space agency Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who led the study, told AFP.

Several scientists are now worried that the increased amount of fresh water flowing into the North Atlantic could lead to a collapse of the entire system of ocean currents in the North Atlantic, the so-called large-scale circulation in the Atlantic (Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, AMOC).

If the ocean currents collapse, it will have devastating consequences for humanity, the researchers write. The study was published in the journal Nature, which states that AI technology has been used to map 235,000 glaciers using satellite images taken between 1985 and 2022.

Text: Paulina Sörlin/TT
Photo: Martina Holmberg/TT

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