Danish meteorologist Steffan Olsen captured a scary photo of himself and his sled dogs quite literally on thin ice. The scientist and his team were making their way through northern Greenland to collect equipment used by scientists from the Danish Meteorological Institute to monitor ocean and weather changes — but he couldn’t find them. Unfortunately, the Inglefield Gulf on which he traveled, usually sheet ice and covered in snow, was flooded with running water from Greenland’s melting ice sheets
@SteffenMalskaer got the difficult task of retrieving our oceanographic moorings and weather station on sea ice in North West Greenland this year. Rapid melt and sea ice with low permeability and few cracks leaves the melt water on top. pic.twitter.com/ytlBDTrVeD
— Rasmus Tonboe (@RasmusTonboe) June 14, 2019
Greenland has lost 2 billion tons of ice this year, almost 40% of the total in the country. The Danish territory is the second largest ice sheet in the world after Antarctica, covering nearly 2 million square kilometres. Around 80% of that is sheet ice. Greenland experience melting from June to August, and this year it has been of record breaking volume.
— Greenland (@greenlandicesmb) June 14, 2019
Ruth Mottram, a Denmark Meteorological Institute climate researcher, said:
"Last week saw the onset of very warm conditions in Greenland and in fact much of the rest of the Arctic, driven by warmer air moving up from the south. This led to a lot of melting ice, both on the glaciers and ice sheet and on the still existing sea ice. This week's warming is still a weather-driven extreme event so it's hard to pin it down to climate change alone"
There is a snowball effect when it comes to melting. Less ice means more melting, as water does not reflect heat as well as ice does. Steffan Olsen himself has called for immediate action.
Communities in #Greenland rely on the sea ice for transport, hunting and fishing. Extreme events, here flooding of the ice by abrupt onset of surface melt call for an incresed predictive capacity in the Arctic @BG10Blueaction @polarprediction @dmidk https://t.co/Y1EWU1eurA
— Steffen M. Olsen (@SteffenMalskaer) June 14, 2019