Greenland is melting fast and worrying scientists

Greenland’s name may soon be more accurate, as its two-mile-thick ice sheet is melting twice as fast as it was five years ago — faster than climate models predicted. Since 1991, the average winter temperature has risen almost 10 degrees; by 2005, the landmass was losing up to 52 cubic miles of ice a year. Meltwater has lubricated the bedrock beneath, causing glaciers to slide toward the sea more quickly. That is, to say the least, bad news: “[The glaciers] are like the buttresses of the high cathedral. If you remove the buttress, the cathedral will collapse,” says geophysicist Jose Rial. If the massive Greenland glaciers thawed entirely, sea level could rise by over 20 feet. Scientists are monitoring the island’s inland, and Denmark now plans to set up measuring stations on the edge of the ice cap to keep tabs on the quickly thinning ice. Perhaps we’ll all have a few years’ notice before we have to flee toward the Midwest.