Rain at the summit of Greenland for the first time on record

August 23, 2021

Something extraordinary happened recently. On August 14, 2021, it rained at the highest point on the Greenland Ice Sheet for several hours — the first rainfall event in recorded history, and air temperatures remained above freezing for about nine hours.
The record-breaking rain is the latest in a string of warning signs about how climate change is affecting Greenland’s ice sheet.
Scientists confirmed these sightings on August 18th that rain were observed Saturday at Summit Station, a research facility that sits atop the Greenland ice sheet and is operated year-round by the National Science Foundation. It was the first report of rain at the normally frigid summit, and it marks only the third time in less than a decade that above-freezing temperatures were recorded at the Arctic research station, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
About 7 billion tonnes of rain fell on the ice across Greenland over three days, from 14 August through 16 August- the largest amount since records began in 1950. This is the first rain since the country’s meteorological record began in 1950. Unusual rainfall is evidence that temperatures in Greenland are rising.
The recent warm spell adds to concerns that climate change is rapidly melting ice in the Arctic, which accelerates sea-level rise around the world.
This unprecedented episode is on top of the most recent heat wave that struck Greenland in July, losing more than 8.5 billion tons of surface mass in a single day. This increases concerns about the acceleration of rising waters around the world.
The consequences of that would be catastrophic. If Greenland’s ice sheet were to completely melt, scientists have said global sea levels could rise more than 20 feet, affecting coastal communities and submerging low-lying cities around the world.

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