Rain on Greenland Summit is a First

Rain fell on the highest part of Greenland ice sheet last week for the first time on record.

Greenland’s ice sheet is the world’s second-largest after Antarctica’s. Greenland icemelt has caused around 25% of global sea level rise seen over the last few decades.

There was 7 billion tons of rain over 3 days and it increased the ice melt by seven times over the regular daily melt.

On August 14, 2021, rain was observed at the highest point on the Greenland Ice Sheet for several hours, and air temperatures remained above freezing for about nine hours. This was the third time in less than a decade, and the latest date in the year on record, that the National Science Foundation’s Summit Station had above-freezing temperatures and wet snow. There is no previous report of rainfall at this location (72.58°N 38.46°W), which reaches 3,216 meters (10,551 feet) in elevation. Earlier melt events in the instrumental record occurred in 1995, 2012, and 2019; prior to those events, melting is inferred from ice cores to have been absent since an event in the late 1800s.

The total aerial extent of surface melting (total melt-day extent) for 2021 through August 16 is 21.3 million square kilometers (8.2 million square miles), tied for the fourteenth highest total to date, and well above the 1981 to 2010 average of 18.6 million square kilometers (7.2 million square miles).

Greenland got its name from Erik The Red, an Icelandic murderer who was exiled to the island. He called it Greenland in hopes that the name would attract settlers. Greenland was actually green more than 2.5 million years ago. A study reveals that ancient dirt was cryogenically frozen for millions of years underneath about 2 miles of ice.

38 thoughts on “Rain on Greenland Summit is a First”

  1. I can live with that.

    Imagine, large parts of the interior criss-crossed with fresh and saltwater lakes… ravines… Internal islands…

    The danes that live there would use their sailing yachts to go grocery shopping and do social calls.. To me it seems like the ideal vacation island.. Kind of like the Hamptons but on a massive scale and with even more maritime elements..

    And while the ice is melting, the properties facing the ice will have spectacular view of waterfalls pouring over the edge of the ice sheet..

    How can I buy a land lot that is currently under the ice?

  2. An archipelago is the most likely, not a freshwater lake. When the water starts to really melt it will dig deep ravines eating away the land and later permitting mixing saltwater with the fresh water that remains.

  3. Sophistry. When people say "desert" they mean hot desert. You have taken advantage of this to suggest a verdant wonderland. The fact is hot deserts will very likely expand substantially, as in fact they have been. 
    It may rain and snow more in Antarctica, but that will not really help anyone.

    With more energy in the air (energy from water vapor), higher wind speeds are likely. This increases the likelihood of large roaming sand dunes, and the size of the areas covered by them.

    The warming at the end of the last ice age caused green areas to become dry and difficult to survive in. This is how agriculture began. They had to find ways to grow food because nature was not growing as much as it had been in the Mideast and some other places.

    And we have seen quite a bit of desert expansion. The central valley in California used to be naturally green even had many ponds and pond turtles. Now, if it was not for irrigation, it would be dry.

    Lake Chad in North Africa used to be many times larger not very long ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Chad

  4. Who is an very old trend as it was the standard everywhere you always got snow during winter. Much easier to make an road over an iced over lake then you just have to carry some horses and an cart.
    Less than 100 years ago we wanted all year road everywhere. The first US highway into Alaska was an WW2 project because the fear of an Japanese invasion or more realistic submarines.

  5. Fair point about the sea level rise being linked. Greenland has 7.6 m of sea level equivalent.

    So the cost per year and dane would be 20 times higher, or 60-80 cents. The gain for the danes still outpace the cost by a factor of 1000.

  6. agreed. humans fear change and extremes and loss of control/ predictability. Loss of the such-such frog due to shifting ecosystem?-world is ending. 10 storms every 5 years rather than 25 every 10?-sky is falling. 42C days for 10 days a year rather than 39C days for 15 days a year?-apocalypse. If we can't adjust and prosper with such change then we don't deserve to exist – the world is not a disney park (which is not a testament to no risk). Of course minimize emissions, pollution, air quality deterioration, obvious health issues — but not at the cost of freedom, prosperity, and economic growth…

  7. with 40 to 80+ years of time, there is ample opportunity to save all that needs to be saved and improve anything with potential. further, enviro-greenie-weanies won't have a chance to obstruct and delay, their modus operandi — as time will be against them to get stuff done. I hate to be one of those people who say my-way or the highway when it comes to gettting people motivated, but hey…

  8. You can't have it both ways – if Greenland's ice melts in a century, the ocean will rise more like 5 cm a year, not 3-4 mm. And your 2 metre wide earth berm wouldn't last very long in a storm. The Netherlands had to import stone to face their dikes, not wanting them to collapse at every high tide.

  9. A lot of people here remind me of antivaxers on their deathbed. Stubborn to the end. God forbid we ever do anything to actually prevent bad stuff from happening…..

  10. No dude, there are arguments not to emit CO2, the sea level rise is just not one of them. Unfortunately, greenies are to dumb to know what is and what is not relevant.

  11. Denmarks costal line is only 9000 km if you count it in a very fractal way. In fact, the average enclosed area per km of "coastal line" would be 4,5 km2.. The general coastal line is more like 1700 km [1], which is still very long for such a small country.

    So let's think about the cost of protecting Denmark. The sea level is rising about 3-4 mm per year. Let's use the higher number, 4 mm per year and let us assume that the wall needs to be 2 m in width. You would have to dump 4*10^-3*1700*10^3 m3 of earth per year, or ~8*10^3 m3, at the perimeter. This would be about 800 truckloads of earth per year. So a single truck dumping its content 3 times a day would suffice. And each truckload would cost about 2-300 USD, so the cost would be 160-240 000 USD, or about 3-4 cents per dane and year.

    Clearly, this is easy peasy and dirt cheap.

    Now, let's contrast this with the value from Greenland… Let us assume that it will be ice free in 100 years. That would add – on average – 20 000 km2 of land to Denmark every year. This would be worth about 250 000 USD per km2, which in total would add 5 billion USD per year to Denmark. Or about 700 USD per dane and year..

    And let us worry about a catastrophic increase of sea level rise when there is actually some evidence that it happens, shall we?


  12. A solar sail a few kilometers across at the Sun-Earth L1 point would be easy to do and would compensate for warming by reducing solar insolation by a very small amount. Easily adjustable as circumstances require. This is so not a problem.

  13. The Netherlands has 60 kilometres of its coastline protected by dikes and dams, though if they were trying to survive a ~5 metre sea level rise, they'd need to work on the other 290 km. Denmark has nearly 9,000 km of coastline, and Poland and Germany have more than 4,000 km. For occasions like the recent flash flooding in Germany, they'd also need pumps that could push all the major rivers draining northern Europe uphill to the new sea level.
    3,000 years ? Nobody really knows how fast our current ice caps could melt – they haven't modelled the effects of cliff collapse, for one thing – but at one stage during the melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which used to cover pretty much all of Canada, as well as most of a dozen US states, the sea rose about a metre every twenty years – for four hundred years.

  14. Yep the OIL mouth pieces are here running their mouths. WE can just build better dikes we can build better buildings. Oh BTW what happens to Florida are we going to build one big dike around it. Or Bangladesh etc etc etc. What happens to acidification of the oceans? You know those silly plankton that supplies the worlds oxygen and the basis of the oceans food chain.
    Yep everything is fixable idiot land.
    Well shucks was does a measly 3C increase mean to real men?
    Those dare animals will evolve again in time.
    I got my gun and live way up high in the mountains so I am not worried.

  15. You're the one kidding yourself. "IF ALL THE WORLD'S ICE MELTED." Utter fantasy. Throughout Earth's prehistoric past, warmer has always meant wetter while colder has meant drier. It's during ice ages and cold spells that deserts expand and vegetation shrinks. You can Google all this.

  16. Desal? If you think EVs are going to have a huge grid impact, start sourcing 10 – 25%+ of your fresh water from that.. the power demands are huge, just ask Israel where much of their source goes to it.

  17. Don't kid yourself, if we really get major warming that melts everything, we will very likely end up with less usable land, not more. Deserts will likely expand, and areas of the tropics may become too hot for humans. And if the projections of higher sea level happen, a lot of land will vanish.
    Much of Russia, Alaska, and Canada will probably still be muck that you can't build on. When it melts, you mostly have mud and bog. Glaciers also damage the land scouring it, removing many of the nutrients, leaving you with rock rather than nice soil.
    A lot of the most productive land on the planet is associated with river deltas. Most of that land will be submerged. Most of the sandy beaches will be gone too, because it takes time to make new sand higher and it will also take time to smooth out the surfaces the ocean meets, so they can accommodate sand. And where there are ocean cliffs, erosion will be accelerated leading to dangerous landslides.

    There are ways to mitigate some of these things.


  18. also, we'll need fresh water more and more, so raising water levels make it easier to plan and install desalinization plants.

  19. there's a lot of natural erosion, backfilling, diversion, and mitigation techniques -and- they have been used for millenia as coastal cities have reclaimed waterfront. Crazily enough, there's quite an underground racket in importing top-notch beach sand in southeast asia – could be a hot market.

  20. I think much of the center is under sea level…or would be, so maybe 40% would remain. So a bit less space than you are calculating.
    It might buoyantly rise, but that would take a while and there would likely be severe earthquakes over the few hundreds or thousands of years that would take.

  21. massive undertaking. The US Interstate project used many, many cubic miles of base, asphalt, and concrete with significant extraction

  22. Maybe a big ask on the world's tens- or hundreds-of-thousands of miles of sea/ ocean front. Probably a lot of real estate loss in the end. And would much of that be breaker wall?

  23. maybe. but are we getting well-designed-and-implemented singapore, san diego, cayman, preserved mangroves, and north Japan on our coasts? -or- are we getting sand bags, NY harbor, St. Petersburg harbor, and the weird growths and nasty erosions of west africa? Methinks cheap and quick and adhoc will rule much of any 'coastal rehabilitation'…

  24. You mean like how the Netherlands dissappeared under the sea? No way Denmark can build walls like them in only a 3000 years..

  25. Meh.
    That tipping point wobbled and toppled over long ago.
    Irony of ironies if the need to adapt to changing sea levels and storm intensities lead to a world wide industrialization and commercialization of better shore lines and building construction practices – possibly even to new power sources coming from off-shore tidal and elevation changes. The dykes of Holland will look poor and primitive in comparison.
    I think that the worst scientifically-compelling scenario i've seen is 24-inches average in 50 years with a range of 6 to over 40 inches across all exposed ocean/ sea boundaries.
    The Headlines: "GDP in double-digit growth annually and unemployment below 2% from 2025 to 2045 as populations rush to work and develop threatened beaches and coastlines"

  26. With any luck Greenlands land consists mainly of coal. Then we can avoid building more nuclear for another 100 years.

  27. '..there is going to be a massive country for the Danes..' That will cheer them up no end, as the one they're living in at the moment disappears into the North Sea.

  28. AGW will be a boon for productivity in areas currently locked up in ice, Greenland, Russia etc. It's may be a problem, but not everyone's problem.

  29. Given that it is our choice, I suggest we slow the warming to a rate that is on the high side of past rises' rates, but not the highest such as those made by asteroid disasters. Start with Earth to Earth power beaming as seen on ppg 12-13 of (search) Criswell LSP (find) searchanddiscovery link

  30. Boy, Denmark is going to be one large country!

    If and when the ice melts on Greenland, there is going to be a massive country for the Danes. Each dane could have their own county, with a castle and moat, a few herds of sheep. Perhaps a few dozen cows as well..

    Not to mention the cool minerals that may be waiting under the ice sheet.. Interesting times!

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