Monday, June 20, 2016

Greenland Hits Record 75°F, Sets Melt Record As Globe Aims At Hottest Year

by Joe Romm Jun 15, 2016

Last Thursday [June 9, 2016], Greenland’s capital hit 75°F, which was hotter than New York City. This was the highest temperature ever recorded there in June — in a country covered with enough ice to raise sea levels more than 20 feet.

It comes hot on the heels of the hottest May on record for the entire globe, according to NASA. As the map above shows, May temperature anomalies in parts of the Arctic and Antarctic were as high as 17°F (9.4°C) above the 1951-1980 average for the month.

And this all follows the hottest April on record for the planet, which followed the hottest March on record, the hottest February on record, and the hottest January on record. NASA says there is a 99 percent chance this will be the hottest year on record — even though the current record-holder for hottest year, 2015, had blown out the previous record-holder, 2014.


NASA reports that some parts of Greenland were 36°F (20°C) warmer than “normal” — and remember, in this map, the new “normal” is the 2001–2010 average, which means it already includes a century of human-caused warming.

As we reported in mid-April, rainfall plus scorching temperatures over the country jump-started the summer melt season weeks early. On April 11, a remarkable 12 percent of Greenland’s massive ice sheet was melting — “smashing by a month the previous records of more than 10 percent of the ice sheet melting,” according to the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI).

The record temperatures in June also led to an unusually high ice melt — covering nearly 40 percent of the ice sheet:


Greenland holds the second-biggest chunk of land-locked ice in the world (after Antarctica), and its melt, by itself, could raise sea levels 20 feet.

Moreover, recent studies have suggested human-caused climate change is acting to melt the ice sheet faster than previously expected. An April study “found that the climate models commonly used to simulate melting of the Greenland ice sheet tend to underestimate the impact of exceptionally warm weather episodes on the ice sheet.”


tags: extreme weather

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