Greenland ice sheet melt ‘off the charts’ compared with past four centuries

  • Researchers found a 50% increase in total ice sheet meltwater runoff versus the start of the industrial era, and a 30% increase since the 20th century alone

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution  Read ScienceDaily article here

Surface melting across Greenland’s mile-thick ice sheet began increasing in the mid-19th century and then ramped up dramatically during the 20th and early 21st centuries, showing no signs of abating, according to new research.

…Ice loss from Greenland is one of the key drivers of global sea level rise. Icebergs calving into the ocean from the edge of glaciers represent one component of water re-entering the ocean and raising sea levels. But more than half of the ice-sheet water entering the ocean comes from runoff from melted snow and glacial ice atop the ice sheet. The study suggests that if Greenland ice sheet melting continues at “unprecedented rates” — which the researchers attribute to warmer summers — it could accelerate the already fast pace of sea level rise…

Luke D. Trusel, Sarah B. Das, Matthew B. Osman, Matthew J. Evans, Ben E. Smith, Xavier Fettweis, Joseph R. McConnell, Brice P. Y. Noël, Michiel R. van den Broeke. Nonlinear rise in Greenland runoff in response to post-industrial Arctic warming. Nature, 2018; 564 (7734): 104 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0752-4