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article imageEurope's heat wave threatening world's 2nd largest ice sheet

By Karen Graham     Jul 26, 2019 in World
The hot air that smashed European weather records this week looks set to move toward Greenland and could take the world's second-largest ice sheet close to or below the record low set in 2012, the United Nations said on Friday.
Clare Nullis, a spokeswoman for the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, speaking during a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva on Friday said the hot air moving up from Africa has not only broken European temperature records on Thursday but surpassed them by 2, 3 or 4 degrees Celsius, which she described as “absolutely incredible," reports Reuters.
“According to forecasts, and this is of concern, the atmospheric flow is now going to transport that heat towards Greenland. This will result in high temperatures and consequently enhanced melting of the Greenland ice sheet,” she said. “We don’t know yet whether it will beat the 2012 level, but it’s close.”
The extreme temperatures are not only a serious threat to humans and animals, but it will likely melt Arctic sea ice. This definitely not good, especially now that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, based on data from NASA.
Nullis cited data from Denmark’s Polar Portal, reports CBC Canada, which measures daily gains and losses in the surface mass of the Greenland ice sheet. "In July alone, it lost 160 billion tonnes of ice through surface melting. That’s roughly the equivalent of 64 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. Just in July. Just surface melt - it’s not including ocean melt as well," she said.
Greenland's ice sheet covers 80 percent of the island and has not seen exceptional weather until June. Since then, the ice has been melting at a rapid rate. The warmer air also had implications for Arctic ice extent, which as of July 15 was nearly the lowest on record, Nullis said.
Nullis also noted that the frequency and intensity of extreme heatwaves were linked to the man-made climate crisis. "What we saw with this one was that temperature records weren't just broken, they were smashed."
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