THE SHRINKING ICE — Unprecedented rain and melt in Greenland
- 14-16 August 2021, Greenland experienced unprecedented rainfall
- Temperatures in these areas were 18°C above average. It should be below freezing
- In July, for a period of 1 week, about 8 billion tons of ice melted away every day
- If all of Greenland’s glaciers melt, sea levels will rise by 6 metres
From 14-16 August 2021, 7 billion tons of rain fell on the glacial peaks of Greenland, some 3,216 metres above sea level. The world was given the appropriate wake-up call as such an event had no precedent on record. At the time, temperatures remained above freezing where it was a staggering 18°C above average triggering extensive melting.
This deluge came in the wake of a large-scale melt episode in July that saw an average of 8 billion tons of ice being shed daily over the course of a week. The ice that melts away exacerbates the global sea-level rise, which endangers many coastal regions across the globe. Scientists estimated that a 6-metre rise in sea level would occur should all of Greenland’s ice melt away. That month, the airport in Greenland recorded a temperature of 23.4°C, the highest ever recorded there and a figure closer to the tropical highlands than the freezing northernmost reaches of the world.
Kyrios was immediately concerned upon receiving the news, citing that continued melting might spell the end for the Earth’s climate system. Kyrios explained that if the drastic melting of the Arctic’s polar ice caps continues unchecked, sea levels will rise rapidly, threatening coastal regions worldwide. The influx of meltwater will further intensify the catastrophic typhoon seasons, leading to storms and rainfall that will cause sudden and frequent floods, landslides, and mudslides across the world. Many will perish in the ensuing disasters, and many will lose their homes and livelihoods as these disasters devastate cities, townships, and farmlands.
On 23 August 2021, Kyrios began restoring ice caps in Greenland and the Arctic in an attempt to reduce the amount of water in our water cycle and climate by capturing more back into the Arctic circle, and primarily on Greenland. This endeavour will continue until March 2022.
Update on 12 Sep 2021:
On 12 September 2021, NASA published an article “Unusual Snowfall in Greenland”.
According to the NASA article, just a month after rainfall was recorded for the first time ever at Greenland’s highest point on 14 August 2021, the island recorded up to 200 millimetres of snow. Lauren Andrews, a glaciologist with NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office commented that it is unusual to see such a high rate of snowfall so soon after the end of the summer melt season, which occurs each year from around May to early September. In fact, the recently recorded snowfall could potentially balance out losses from melting during the summer.
Kyrios comments that during this intervention to restore ice caps in Greenland and the Arctic sea ice, countries in the northern hemisphere will experience lower temperatures than usual.