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Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ World https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Photo of sled dogs walking through the water shows reality of Greenland's melting ice sheet

Photo of sled dogs walking through the water shows reality of Greenland's melting ice sheet



He could not see them – the generally flat white sea ice was covered in water the result of a flood of Greenland's ice sheet, the second largest on the planet.

The incredible photo he took, of the sled dogs ankle deep in a wide expanse of light blue water, quickly went viral, destined to join pictures of starving polar bears, shrunken glaciers, stranded walruses and lakes turned bone dry in the pantheon of evidence of our ongoing climate catastrophe.

As Olsen said on Twitter, communities in Greenland – mainly indigenous – "rely on the sea for transport, hunting and fishing." They will be among the first affected by the melting of the ice sheet, but the repercussions will not be limited to Greenland or even North America.

Greenland's "melt season" runs from June to August, with the bulk melting occurring in July, the hottest month. But this year has already seen massive amounts of ice lost, with some 40% of Greenland experiencing melting on June 1
3 – the day Olsen took his photo – for a total melt of more than 2 billion tons of ice, according to recent estimates .
Scientists have been predicting a record year for melting on the Greenland ice sheet for months, and the amount of ice already being lost this early in the summer suggests they're right.

The effect is also cumulative – the more ice lost early in the summer causes more melting as the weeks go on. This is because white snow and ice reflect sun's rays back into space, reducing the amount of heat absorbed and keeping ice cold. The less ice is there, the less heat is reflected, and the more melting occurs.

Thomas Mote, a research scientist at the University of Georgia who studies Greenland's climate, told CNN last week that while the previous melt periods occurred in 2007, 2010 and 2012, "we did not see anything like this before the late 1990s . "
This could have a major effect on sea level rise, one of the most dangerous effects of climate change that could drive millions of people living in coastal communities from their homes.

"Greenland has been an increasing contributor to global sea level rise over the past two decades," said Mote, "and surface melting and runoff is a large portion of that."

Since 1972, ice loss from Greenland alone has added 13.7 millimeters (about half an inch) to global sea level, and recent study estimates.

Just as a early melt in Greenland can cause more melting later in the year, the loss of ice can have an amplifying effect on global temperatures because less heat is reflected off the planet. That heat causes sea temperatures to rise, which then causes more ice to melt, causing a cycle that is only broken when the winter arrives and the Arctic begins to freeze again.

But with the winters becoming warmer and warmer as the global climate catastrophe continues, the risk is that one day the cycle will not stop or even slow, and instead of the huskies in Greenland ankle deep in water, it will be people in Manhattan. And that will only be the start of their problems.

CNN's Brandon Miller and Jen Christensen contributed reporting.


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