Greenland's ice sheet is melting at a scale "off the charts" compared with the previous four centuries, warns a new study.
The team analysed these results in combination with the imaging data collected by various satellites and the data from sophisticated climate models, which enabled them to determine the rate of ice melting, not only at core site, but also broadly across Greenland.
An increased rate of melting was detected in the ice cores beginning in the mid-1800s, which was around the same time as the onset of industrial-era Arctic warming.
She said: "From a historical perspective, today's melt rates are off the charts, and this study provides the evidence to prove this".
The second largest ice sheet in the world is melting faster in the past 20 or 30 years than in the past three centuries.
Despite mounting research on anthropogenic global warming and alarm among scientists about the closing window to avert climate catastrophe, the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress continue to push for fossil-fuel friendly policies and roll back regulations meant to curb planet-warming emissions.
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Ice loss from Greenland is one of the key drivers of global sea level rise.
The enormous sheet, which covers an area two and a half times that of the United Kingdom, is dumping more melted ice into the oceans than at any point during the past 400 years, according to a new study. I am especially enthusiastic about technology, science, and health-related issues. Rather than increasing steadily as the climate warms, Greenland will melt increasingly more for every degree of warming. Because Greenland had been icy and cold for thousands of years prior, the researchers suspect that 2012 was a record for melt going back even further, to as early as 7,800 years ago. Surface melting was the most extensive in 2012 than any time over the past 350 years and the period of 2004-2013 had more sustained and intense melting than any other 10-year period recorded.
The research also discovers that the estimate of melting at Greenland's surface has shot up in recent years and now is beyond the limits of what was contemplated organic changeability over the last few centuries.
The ice cores contain layers that show how ice melted and refroze on contact with the snow-pack underneath each year, revealing the intensity of melting.
Ice core records provide critical historical context because satellite measurements used to understand melt rates caused by climate change have only been around since the late 1970s according to co-author Matt Osman, a graduate student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. The satellites used to study ice sheet melting around the world haven't been around long enough to capture a complete picture of the melting process. Now, even a very small temperature change in the region can cause huge spikes in ice sheet melting, according to the study.
Additional co-authors are: Matthew J. Evans, Wheaton College; Ben E. Smith, University of Washington; Xavier Fettweis, University of Leige; Joseph R. McConnell, Desert Research Institute; and Brice P.Y. Noël and and Michiel R. van den Broeke Utrecht University.