Global Warming

Greenland Temperatures hit 1 000 year high

Some of the coldest parts of the Greenland ice sheet have hit their warmest levels in at least a millennium — and the amount of melting they’re experiencing has also probably hit a thousand-year high. The findings in a new study underscore a grim trend for the world’s second-largest ice sheet. Temperatures are steadily rising, the ice is gradually shrinking and the world’s frozen places are vulnerable to the steady march of climate change.

The study reconstructs 1,000 years of Greenland climate history using enormous ice cores carefully drilled out of the ice sheet. Greenland contains some of the world’s oldest ice, frozen in place for hundreds or thousands of years. The ice contains trapped air bubbles and other chemical signatures that offer clues about what the climate was like when the water froze. Scientists can compare older ice with layers of newer ice to determine how the region’s climate has changed over time.

The ice cores suggest that temperatures between 2001 and 2011 were around 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than the 20th-century average. And they were “exceptional” for the entire 1,000-year study period.

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