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What Arctic ice tells us about climate change

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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 Washington Post or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: The frozen beauty of the Greenland ice sheet belies its fragility in the face of climate change
• While it might seem timeless and unchanging, NASA research reveals Greenland loses an average of 270 gigatons of ice annually

🔭 The context: Despite its icy façade, Greenland is among the regions warming the fastest globally 
• Arctic temperatures are already 3°C warmer than in 1979
• The alarming rate of warming is due to a feedback loop caused by diminishing sea ice

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: The Greenland ice sheet's melt contributes significantly to rising sea levels
• As land ice melts and flows into the ocean, sea levels rise by approximately three-quarters of a millimeter every year
• The ramifications for coastal communities are already evident, with "sunny day flooding" having doubled in the U.S. in just 20 years

⏭️ What's next: Greenland's melting trajectory suggests dire predictions
• Even if global greenhouse gas emissions stopped immediately, the ice sheet is still projected to lose over 110 trillion tons of ice by 2100: this would result in nearly a foot of global sea level rise

💬 One quote: “The Greenland ice sheet is probably patient number one in the climate system” (Joerg Schaefer, a leading climate geochemist)

📈 One stat: If Greenland's ice sheet were to melt entirely, global sea levels could rise by an estimated 24 feet, which could erase lands currently home to over 375 million people

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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