The Greenland ice sheet shrinks for the 25th consecutive year-a global problem

Data from the Danish Arctic Monitoring Service Polar Gateway -Form part of the United Nations Meteorological Bureau Meteorological OrganizationOf the year Climatic conditions Report-It showed that early summer was cold and wet, and the snowfall in June was unusually heavy and late, delaying the start of the melting season.


However, after that, the heat wave at the end of July caused a massive loss of ice.

In the “total mass balance” (the sum of surface melting and ice loss, plus the melting of the “tongue” of the glacier in contact with seawater), the ice sheet ends in the month of December-August 2021.


climate change

These figures mean that the net surface mass balance of the ice sheet at the end of the season is about 396 billion tons, the 28th lowest level recorded in the 41-year time series.

This can be considered an average year, but the Polar Report points out how people’s views have changed due to the rapid advancement of climate change.


For example, at the end of the 1990s, these same numbers would be considered years when the surface quality balance was very low.

The report also pointed out that the reason for the cold in early summer may be due to conditions in southwestern Canada and the northwestern United States.

In these territories, a huge “blocking” high-voltage system was formed, shaped like the Greek capital letter Omega (Ω).


This flow pattern often occurs in the troposphere, not only over North America, but has never been observed with such a strong intensity before.

According to the report, an analysis by the World Weather Attribution Company showed that this can only be explained by the warming of the atmosphere caused by human activities.

A year worth watching

According to the report, there are several reasons why 2021 is remarkable.


This is a year recorded in the form of rainfall at Summit Station on top of the ice sheet at an altitude of 3,200 meters.

This year also witnessed the acceleration of ice loss on the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, otherwise the loss rate would have stagnated for several years.

The winter snowfall from 1981 to 2010 was also close to average. This is good news, because the combination of low winter snowfall and warm summer may cause a large loss of ice, just like 2019.

In Greenland, the melting of the ice sheet is accelerating.

© WMO/Karolin Eichier

In Greenland, the melting of the ice sheet is accelerating.

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