It rained many hours at the highest point on the Greenland summit on August 14, 2021, and air temperatures were above freezing for over nine hours. The National Science Foundation’s Summit Station saw above-freezing temperatures and wet snow for the third time in less than a decade, and the latest date in the year on record.
Above-freezing temperatures and wet snow were recorded for the third time in less than a decade. About 7 billion tons of rainfall dropped onto Greenland’s ice sheet, according to NSIDC.
In an email to Insider, climate scientist and Brown University professor Laurence C. Smith described the rainfall at the summit as “stunning.” “It portends a future of increased meltwater discharge,” he said, adding that “Greenland’s melting and contribution to global sea-level rise will be amplified.”
Last month, enough ice melted in Greenland to cover the whole surface area of Florida in 4 inches of water in only two days. Greenland, the northern hemisphere’s biggest ice mass, shed more than 530 billion tons of ice in 2019.
Furthermore, Julienne Stroeve, a research scientist at the NSIDC, told Insider that rain at the top station might be a sign of things to come elsewhere, pointing out that the Arctic is melting three times faster than the rest of the world.
According to Polar Portal, a Danish website that monitors the Greenland ice sheet, enough ice melted in Greenland over the last two days that the runoff could cover an area the size of Florida in four inches of water.
Rising sea levels are aided by increased precipitation and meltwater pouring from melting ice and glaciers as the climate warms.
Hundreds of millions of people on coastlines around the world were threatened by rising sea levels, and according to some estimates a number of US cities, including New Orleans and Miami, could be underwater by 2100.
Stroeve says that, in addition to increasing sea levels, instances when rain replaces snow as precipitation can be a concern for animals. Caribou and muskoxen, she claims, are unable to break through the layers of ice that develop as a result, making foraging for food more difficult for them.