Unusual Rain on Greenland’s Highest Peak

In this place, it’s been more than 70 years since a single drop of rain has fallen. It’s not just curious news. In fact, it has unexpected consequences. The unusual rainfall on Greenland’s highest peak is worrying science. But what are the implications for the environment?

Unusual rainfall on Greenland's highest peak is cause for alarm.
Unusual rainfall on Greenland’s highest peak is a cause for alarm.
Surprise rain

It was a surprise for the people of Greenland. And it came at 5:00 a.m. on August 14, 2021. It began to rain in one of the coldest temperatures on the planet. The rains lasted for two days. It lasted from the 14th to the 16th of August.

The reason? It was explained by the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. A strong center of low pressure over Baffin Island and high air pressure southeast of Greenland combined. They conspired to push warm air and moisture rapidly from the south.
But it didn’t just happen there. It was also observed at South Dome. It is the highest point of the ice sheet that covers the island. The air temperature stayed above freezing for more than 9 consecutive hours. This is the third time in less than a decade. The National Science Foundation recorded temperatures above freezing and wet snow.

These are the anomalous weather readings that demonstrate significant atmospheric variation.
These are the anomalous weather readings demonstrating significant atmospheric variation.
Event never before recorded

Temperatures averaged 18 degrees Celsius above normal for the region. That’s what caused this unprecedented rainfall. This unusual rainfall on Greenland’s highest peak is unprecedented. There is no previous report of rainfall at this location. It reaches an altitude of about 3,216 metres.
Scientists at Summit Station noticed something else. A marked melting of the ice surface. Where? Around the southeast coast of Greenland. It affected over 872,000 square kilometers of surface area. We haven’t seen anything close to that since 2012.

Presence of climate change

High temperatures and rainfall spread to southern and western Greenland. In total, the phenomenon lasted three days. Exceptional readings were taken at several weather stations. Total precipitation on the ice sheet is estimated at 7 billion tons. Anomalies like this are unprecedented. They are clear evidence of the effects of global warming on Greenland.

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