Scientists are assembling Greenland’s past by digging ice cores to understand how the climate issue has affected the island nation over time as we tinker with the planet’s thermostat. They were able to distinguish between temperature swings that were induced by human activity and those that were produced by natural causes when they dug further into the earth.

Scientists reported Wednesday in the journal Nature that temperatures in Greenland have been the warmest in at least the last 1,000 years, which is the longest period of time to which their ice cores could be analyzed. The Greenland ice sheet has been the subject of years of research; CNN was there when the cores were drilled. And they discovered that the temperature rose by 1.5 degrees Celsius on average between 2001 and 2011 compared to the 20th century.

The vital Arctic region, whose melting ice has a large global impact, had a severe spike in temperatures, according to the report’s authors, who attributed this to human-caused climate change.

Maria Hörhold, a glaciologist with the Alfred Wegener Institute and the study’s principal author, told CNN that Greenland is currently the main cause of sea level rise. And if carbon emissions continue at the current rate, Greenland will have contributed up to 50 centimeters to sea level rise by 2100, which will have an impact on millions of people who live in coastal areas.

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Secrets in the Ice: Part 5 of Greenland, 07:57 – CNN
The Greenland ice sheet’s coastal parts have been detected by weather stations to be warming, but due to a paucity of long-term observations, scientists’ understanding of the impacts of rising temperatures there has been constrained.

According to Hörhold, it’s critical to comprehend the past in order to plan for the future’s repercussions.



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“You need to know what the natural fluctuation was before humans actually interacted with the climate,” she added, “if you want to assert something is global warming.” “For that, you have to travel back in time, to the pre-industrial era, when people weren’t putting [carbon dioxide] into the atmosphere,” the speaker said.

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In Greenland, there were no weather stations that collected temperature data like there are today during the pre-industrial era. For this reason, the researchers used paleoclimate information from ice cores to examine the patterns of regional warming. Although climate change was already evident elsewhere, Greenland’s last thorough ice core analysis concluded in 1995, and the data from that research failed to find any warming, according to Hörhold.

With this extension to 2011, she continued, “we can demonstrate that there is warming.” “The warming trend has existed since 1800, but this warming has been concealed by the great natural variability.”

Temperatures near 32 degrees Fahrenheit in Greenland were unheard of before people started spewing pollutants from fossil fuels into the sky. But according to recent studies, the Arctic has warmed up four times more quickly than the rest of the earth.

According to scientists, the ice sheet in Greenland has been warming significantly and is on the verge of melting completely. According to NASA, Greenland is home to enough ice that if it all melted, the world’s sea levels would rise by about 24 feet.

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Although the study only looked at temperatures up until 2011, exceptional occurrences have occurred in Greenland after then. Nearly the whole ice sheet’s surface started melting in 2019 due to an unexpectedly warm spring and a heatwave in July, releasing some 532 billion tons of ice into the ocean. Scientists later estimated that this would cause a 1.5 millimeter increase in global sea level.

Then, in 2021, rain began to fall for the first time ever on Greenland’s top, which is located around two miles above sea level. After that, the warm air sparked an extraordinary rainstorm that dumped 7 billion tons of water on the ice sheet, nearly filling the Reflecting Pool at the National Mall in Washington, DC, 250,000 times.

Hörhold noted that because these catastrophic occurrences are occurring more frequently in Greenland, the team will continue to track the developments.

Every grade counts, Hörhold declared. We’ll eventually return to Greenland and keep extending those records, he said.

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