Melting Arctic: Environmental Atlas of Europe — Grenland
Earth’s climate is changing with the global temperature now rising at a rate unprecedented in human history.
The earliest and most intense impacts of these changes are happening in the Arctic, with the last six years (2005-2010) being the warmest period on record.
Since 1980, the average annual Arctic temperature has been twice as high as the rest of the world. The rise in Arctic temperatures has led to increased melting of sea ice, mountain glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet, all of which have been declining faster since the beginning of the century than in previous decades.
The latest data show that the net loss of mass from the Greenland Ice Sheet is accelerating, far faster than predicted by the International Panel of Climate Change. Last year alone there were 50 more melting days on the Greenland ice sheet than on average, meaning we now see an average net loss of ice mass of 200 gigatons per year - a level that is four times higher than just back in the year 2000.
To give an idea of the numbers, the increased melting is equivalent to twice the volume of all the ice in the European Alps lost annually.
The accelerated melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet means that our estimates of global sea level rise by the end of the century have now had to be re-estimated up to 1,6 metres.
This document is part of the SOER 2015 product.