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Climate experts sound alarm over thriving plant life at Greenland ice sheet

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: A recent study, published in Scientific Reports, has found significant transformation in Greenland's landscape due to the melting of its ice sheet since the 1980s, with large areas now covered by vegetation, wetlands, and shrub growth instead of ice

🔭 The context: Over the past three decades, satellite records have shown an alarming melt-off of approximately 11,000 square miles of ice, revealing bare rock and leading to a drastic increase in vegetated land by 33,774 square miles
• This change is attributed to warmer air temperatures, which have been increasing at double the global average rate since the 1970s (for similar issues affecting the Alps see here)

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The transformation is causing increased methane emissions from the expanded wetlands and altering sediment and nutrient flows into coastal waters, impacting delicate ecosystems crucial for Indigenous populations
• The loss of ice mass also contributes significantly to global sea level rise, presenting substantial challenges for the future

⏭️ What's next: The researchers have developed a model to predict future areas of Greenland likely to undergo marked changes, aiming to continue monitoring the evolving landscape and its implications on climate and ecosystems

💬 One quote: "We have seen signs that the loss of ice is triggering other reactions which will result in further loss of ice and further ‘greening’ of Greenland," said Jonathan Carrivick, Earth scientist at the University of Leeds and co-author of the study.

📈 One stat: Over three decades, Greenland's ice melt has revealed 33,774 square miles of land now supporting vegetation, more than doubling the vegetated area at the study's start.

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change


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