Study: Greenland Records Hottest Temperatures in a Millennium

According to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, a sharp rise in Greenland's temperatures since 1995 indicates the island is 1.5°C warmer than it was during the 20th century, and the warmest it's been in more than 1,000 years.

Study: Greenland Records Hottest Temperatures in a Millennium
Image credit: Getty Images [via CNN]

Facts

  • According to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, a sharp rise in Greenland's temperatures since 1995 indicates the island is 1.5°C warmer than it was during the 20th century, and the warmest it's been in more than 1,000 years.
  • New analysis of Greenland's ice cores — drilled in 2011 — show a dramatic rise in temperature has occurred in the previous 15 years. The study also reveals that the average melt rate at the base of the ice sheet has increased, adding to sea level rise.
  • In addition, the researchers found that the likelihood of a huge spike in temperature occurring under pre-industrial conditions is "close to zero" and warned that human-driven global warming has reached the top of the ice sheet in the critical Arctic region.
  • The study's lead author Maria Hörhold adds that unmitigated carbon emissions could melt Greenland ice sheets and contribute up to 50 centimeters of sea level rise by the end of the 21st century, affecting millions who live in coastal areas.
  • In 2022, a similar study warned that 3.3% of Greenland's ice sheet is set to melt — the equivalent of 110T tons of ice — and will contribute up to 10 inches of global mean sea level rise by 2100, even if emissions of greenhouse gases were to stop immediately.
  • Greenland has seen extreme events occurring since 2011. In 2019, an unexpectedly hot spring caused the island to shed nearly 532B tons of ice and raise the average global sea level by 1.5 millimeters.

Sources: LA Times, Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, CNBC, and Climate.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by The Washington Post. This study presents a worrying picture. A warmer world has shifted ecological and landscaping processes in the Arctic, replaced snow with rain, and decreased the thickness of ice sheets. If we don't stop destabilizing the Arctic region with polluting emissions, as well as plan for and adapt to the changing environment, rising sea levels will eventually inundate humanity living along the coastlines.
  • Narrative B, as provided by CEI. Climate and environmental disasters have been predicted by modern-day doomsayers for decades. None of the apocalyptic predictions have come true so far; why would this time be any different?
  • Narrative C, as provided by The Conversation. There are multiple methods to keep global warming in check besides slashing emissions including capturing carbon from the Earth's oceans. But even these methods should not be seen as a silver bullet. Before countries start experimenting with the ocean's health, they must consider ecological, environmental, and economic benefits or risks to communities solely dependent on the sea for survival. This is a tricky and messy issue.

Predictions