How Clouds Are Causing Greenland’s Ice Sheet To Melt


A study published in the Nature Communications journal on Jan. 12 has discovered that clouds may just be as harmful to the Greenland ice sheet as the ever increasing air and water temperature.

The article titled “Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff” was published by a group of researchers led by Kristof Van Tricht, a graduate student from KU Leuven Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

The research involved the usage of climate model data, snow model simulations and active satellite observations in order to gain a deeper understanding of what is really causing the Greenland Ice Sheet runoff.

Most people know that clouds are an important part of the weather system and that it helps the Earth reflect radiation from the sun, however, Van Tricht and his colleagues have discovered that clouds above Greenland are not as helpful. Like thieves in the night, the seemingly harmless, normal and sometimes even adorable clouds actually have quite an effect on the rising sea levels.

The published article states that a thick covering of clouds over the Greenland ice sheet can trap heat instead of reflect it back to the sun, therefore increasing the amount of meltwater that the glacier adds to the already rising sea levels.

It’s unnerving, to say the least, but in order to understand this phenomenon, we may have to go back to basic science lessons, and add a few new ones that may help us to understand just how our planet works.

Read More: Techtimes

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