Now more than ever, climate change is revealing itself in undeniable ways around the globe
Forest fires are raging as temperatures reach record-breaking highs. A major oceanic system is showing warning signs of a critical collapse. A new report on the earth’s current state has prompted the United Nations to issue a “code red for humanity”.
The polar regions are seeing unprecedented conditions as well, and the implications are undeniable: temperatures are rising around the globe and this has severe impacts on our planet, people and animals.
For the first time on record, rain fell on the summit of Greenland’s ice cap.
At an elevation of 10,551 feet and a temperature that has rarely risen above freezing, the summit had previously seen snow as its only form of precipitation. But Greenland had been experiencing exceptional temperatures, recording up to 18 degrees Celsius higher than average on areas across the country—and on August 14, the heat turned the summit's typical snowfall into rain.
On that day, an estimated seven billion tonnes of rain fell across the country. The precipitation lasted several hours and was the only known rain at the summit since recording began in the area in 1950. It was the third time in less than a decade, and the latest date in the year on record, when the temperature rose above freezing, where it remained for about nine hours.
According to research, Greenland’s ice is melting at its fastest rate in 12,000 years, and the amount of ice mass lost due to this rainfall was seven times higher than the daily average for this time of year.
“We have altered our planet so much that the rates of ice sheet melt this century are on pace to be greater than anything we have seen under natural variability of the ice sheet over the past 12,000 years,” said Jason Briner, a professor of geology at the University of Buffalo.Photo by Annie Spratt on UnsplashThe melting ice has drastic implications for our planet. It raises sea levels, impacts ocean currents, and interferes with habitats. Another unusual event occurring in the area is over the last five years, three polar bears have been spotted up high on Greenland’s ice sheet, despite normally sticking by coastal regions where they can find food.
Major events like this rainfall in Greenland show that significant changes are happening around the world and we will all suffer if the climate crisis maintains its current course.