International: Greenland lost a record amount of ice during an extra warm 2019, with the melt massive enough to cover California in more than four feet of water, a new study said.
After two years when summer ice melt had been minimal, last summer shattered all records with 586 billion tons of ice melting, according to satellite measurements reported in a study on August 20.
This is far more than the yearly average loss of 259 billion tons since 2003. It easily surpasses the old record of 511 billion tons in 2012. This report is according to a study in Nature Communications Earth & Environment. The study showed that in the 20th century, there were many years when Greenland gained ice.
Not only is the ice sheet melting, but it’s melting at a faster and faster pace.
General ice melt records in Greenland go back to 1948. However, since 2003, scientists have had precise records of how much ice melts. Also, NASA satellites measure the gravity of the ice sheets.
As massive as the melt was last year, the two years before were only on average about 108 billion tons. That shows that there’s a second factor called Greenland blocking. It either super-charges that or dampens climate-related melting.
In the summer, there are generally two factors in Greenland’s weather. Last year, Greenland blocking caused warm southern air to come up from the United States and Canada and flow into Greenland. This forced more melting. Greenland blocking is a high pressure over Canada that changes the northern jet stream.