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Scientists report that temperatures on Greenland have not been this warm for at least 1,000 years

Scientists report that temperatures on Greenland have not been this warm for at least 1,000 years
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CNN

As people messing around with the planet’s thermostatScientists get together Greenland’s history by drilling ice cores to analyze how the Climate crisis has had an impact the island country over the years. The deeper they drilled, the further they went back in time, which enabled them to distinguish which temperature fluctuations were natural and which were man-made.

After years of research on the Greenland ice sheet – the CNN was visiting when the cores were drilled – Scientists reported Wednesday in the Nature magazine that temperatures there have been the warmest in at least the past 1,000 years—the longest time their ice cores have been analyzed. And they found that between 2001 and 2011 it was on average 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than in the 20th century.

The report’s authors said human-caused climate change played a significant role in the dramatic rise in temperatures in the critical Arctic region, where melting ice is having significant global impacts.

“Greenland is currently the main contributor to sea level rise,” Maria Hörhold, lead author of the study and a glaciologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute, told CNN. “And if we continue with CO2 emissions as we have been, by 2100 Greenland will have contributed up to 50 centimeters of sea level rise, and that will affect millions of people living in coastal areas.”

Greenland: Secrets in the Ice – Part 5

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– Source: CNN

Weather stations at the edge of the Greenland ice sheet have detected that coastal regions are warming, but scientists’ understanding of the effects of rising temperatures there has been limited due to a lack of long-term observations.

Understanding the past, Hörhold said, is important in preparing for future consequences.

“If you’re going to say something is global warming, you need to know what the natural variation was like before humans actually interacted with the atmosphere,” she said. “For that you have to go back in time – to the pre-industrial era – when humans weren’t emitting any emissions [carbon dioxide] into the atmosphere.”

In pre-industrial times, Greenland did not have weather stations collecting temperature data like it does today. For this reason, scientists relied on paleoclimate data such as ice cores to study the region’s warming patterns. The last robust ice core analysis in Greenland ended in 1995, and those data showed no warming, although climate change was already visible elsewhere, Hörhold said.

“With this extension to 2011, we can show that there is indeed warming,” she added. “The warming trend has been there since 1800, but we’ve had the strong natural variability that has masked that warming.”

Before people started burping Emissions from fossil fuels into the atmosphere, temperatures approaching 32 degrees Fahrenheit in Greenland were unheard of. However, recent research shows that the Arctic has been Warming four times faster than the rest of the planet.

Scientists say significant warming of the Greenland ice sheet is nearing a tipping point that could trigger catastrophic melting. Greenland holds enough ice that it could raise global sea levels if everything melted about 24 feetaccording to NASA.

Although the study only covered temperatures up to 2011, Greenland has experienced extreme events since then. 2019 an unexpectedly hot spring and a July heat wave caused almost the entire ice sheet to begin to melt and loosen roughly 532 billion tons of ice into the sea. Scientists later reported that global sea levels would rise by 1.5 millimeters as a result.

Then, in 2021, it rained at the top of Greenland – about two miles above sea level – for the first time on record. The warm air then fueled an extreme rain event that caused dumping 7 billion tons of water on the ice sheet, enough to fill the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall in Washington, DC nearly 250,000 times.

Because these extreme events are more common in Greenland, Hörhold said the team will continue to monitor the changes.

“Every degree counts,” said Hörhold. “Eventually we will return to Greenland and continue to build on those records.”

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