Helheim Glacier- is where Earth’s refrigerator door is left open, where glaciers dwindle, and seas start to rise.
Air and ocean scientist David Holland, who’s been monitoring Greenland from above and beneath, calls it “the end of the planet.” He’s referring to geography, not making an apocalyptic prediction. But in some ways, this spot just inside the Arctic Circle is where the planet’s hotter and watery future is being written.
It’s so warm right here that on an August day, coats are left on the ground and Holland and colleagues work on the thin melting ice without gloves. In one of many closest towns, Kulusuk, the morning temperature reached 52 degrees Fahrenheit — warm sufficient for shirtsleeves.
The ice Holland is standing on, is hundreds and thousands of years old. Scientists say it will likely be gone within a year or two, adding more water to rising seas worldwide.
Summer season this year is striking Greenland with record-shattering heat and extreme melt. By season’s end, about 440 billion tons of ice — perhaps more — could have melted or calved off Greenland’s giant ice sheet, experts estimate. That’s sufficient to flood all the state of Pennsylvania underwater a couple of foot deep.
Between July 31 and Aug. 3 alone, more than 58 billion tons melted from the surface. The average for this time of year is less than 18 billion tons. And that doesn’t even count the massive calving events or the nice and cozy water eating away at the glaciers from beneath.
One of the places hit hardest in this hot Greenland summertime is on the south-eastern fringe of the vast frozen island. Helheim, one of Greenland’s fastest-retreating glaciers, has shrunk about 6 miles since scientists came here in 2005.
Several scientists, such as oceanographer Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, mentioned what’s occurring is the results of both human-made climate change and natural however bizarre climate patterns.
Glaciers right here do shrink in the summertime and grow in the winter, however nothing like this year.