2019 was especially warm. The arctic summer was no exception. That year, Greenland lost 600 billion tons of ice! Enough to raise the sea level by 2.2 millimeters in just two months. A new study shows how the melting of Greenland caused the sea to rise.
It is a study of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine. This research concludes that Antarctica continues to lose mass, particularly in the Amundsen Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula. They are located in the western part of the continent. However, those losses have been partially offset by gains from the increased snowfall in the Northeast.
The ice goes, the sea rises
“We knew that last summer had been particularly warm in Greenland. Melted every corner of the ice sheet, "said lead author Isabella Velicogna. She is a senior scientist of the project at JPL and a professor at the UCI. "But the numbers really are huge."
Let's put it in context. Last summer's losses are more than double the Greenlandic 2002-2019 annual average.
“In Antarctica, the loss of mass in the west continues unabated. Which will lead to an even greater rise in sea level rise, "Velicogna said in a statement. “But we also observed a gain in mass in the Atlantic sector of East Antarctica caused by an increase in snowfall. This helps mitigate the huge increase in mass loss that we have seen in the past two decades in other parts of the continent. ”
She and her colleagues reached these conclusions in the process of establishing data continuity between the GRACE satellite mission (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment). They also studied those of his successor, GRACE Follow-On.
Gravitational pull alerts us
These missions were designed to measure changes in Earth's gravitational pull that result from changes in mass. Including water. As water moves around the planet, flowing ocean currents, melting ice, falling rain, etc., the gravitational pull changes very slightly. Scientists use precise measurements of these variations to monitor Earth's water reserves. They include polar ice, global sea levels, and the availability of groundwater.
The first GRACE mission was launched in 2002. It was withdrawn in October 2017. GRACE-FO, based on similar technology and designed to continue data logging from its predecessor, was launched in May 2018. The study has been published in Geophysical. Research Letters.
Yes, the melting of Greenland made the sea rise. Fires devastate forests. Viruses threaten us. Our world is giving us signs. It is up to us whether we hear them or not.