August has been a tough month for Greenland. Like many other countries around the world, this summer has broken records in terms of heat throughout Greenland. While some may just look at these records as simple numbers on paper, the effect they’ve had on the environment has been far more severe. Those temperatures have resulted in the country losing much more of the ice sheet which covers 80% of the island than usual.
Ice melt is something that Greenland is used to. Usually, though, the ice sheet in Greenland starts melting around the beginning of June. This year, however, the melting started a month early and hasn’t really slowed down at all. That’s due to the abnormally high temperatures that have gripped the country this summer. In some areas throughout the country, temperatures have averaged as much as 10 degrees warmer than usual.
To put things into perspective, consider this startling figure. On August 1st, Greenland saw its biggest loss in terms of ice. In a single day, it lost 11 billion tons of ice. It doesn’t take a mathematician to see just how drastic that figure is.
The good news is that the peaking “melting period” for Greenland has passed, but that doesn’t mean the season is over. The hot summer weather isn’t expected to go anywhere anytime soon.
Greenland isn’t the only country experiencing record-setting heat this summer, either. July was the hottest month on record for the entire European continent, and the July temps also set records for the majority of the United States.
While extreme temperatures caused massive ice melt in Greenland, the temps have caused other natural disasters in other parts of the world. Russia has faced its fair share of issues, too. The temperatures have caused extremely dry conditions. As a result, nearly 12,000 square miles of land throughout Russia has been plagued by forest fires. In the United States, Alaska saw similar forest fires thanks to the high temperatures.
What’s more, when forest fires burn on a scale that large, the lingering smoke in the air can actually change the climate in those areas, further advancing the impacts of global warming.