Over 10 billion tons of ice and snow in Greenland melted in a 24-hour period, Danish researchers said Thursday.
56% percent of Greenland’s surface experienced detectable surface melting Wednesday, according to Polar Portal, a polar statistics source run by Danish research institutions. The melting is related to the heat wave that has broken high-temperature records in Western European countries in recent days, as Greenland has seen temperatures 30 degrees above average this week, according to Discover Magazine.
Greenland experienced more melting Wednesday than any day since 2012, according to the Washington Post. 197 billion tons of water have poured into the Atlantic from Greenland in the month of July, according to Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist and glaciologist for the Danish Meteorological Institute. (RELATED: Evidence Mounts Against Climate Prediction That Inspired ‘Day After Tomorrow’ Disaster Flick)
A Twitter video of melted ice rushing out to sea in Kangerlussiauq, Greenland, has made the rounds the past couple of days.
The type of glacial melt seen in the video is, however, less unusual than some Twitter users were perhaps led to believe. (RELATED: National Park Quietly Removed Warning That Glaciers ‘Will All Be Gone’ By 2020 After Years Of Heavy Snowfall)
“There have always been what one could call ‘heat waves’ in the Arctic,” Mark Serreze, Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, a polar research information source, told Discover. According to Serreze, the melting Greenland has seen this week is a natural part of the weather, though human-related warming has increased melting during hot periods.
“If you look at temperature records for the Arctic, what you see is natural climate variability superposed upon the general warming trend,” Serreze said. “Given that there is a lot of natural variability, I guess I’m not all that surprised. The last few summers have been somewhat cool, so we were due for a warm one. And here we are.”