The heatwave which broke records across Europe last week has now reached Greenland where it is causing massive and rapid ice loss in the Arctic.

Last week the United Nations warned it expected the warm air to continue its trajectory towards the semi-autonomous Danish territory between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

Air sweeping up from the Sahara desert caused all-time high temperatures last week, reaching above 40C (104F) in Belgium, France and Germany.


Average temperatures in Greenland rarely exceed 10C (50F) during the summer but are forecast to reach 14C (57F) over the weekend and stay in the low teens into next week.

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Roughly 82% of the surface of Greenland is covered in ice, but climate scientists with the Danish Meterological Institute have found it is melting at a record rate.

Ruth Mottram, a scientist at DMI, said 56.5% of Greenland’s ice sheet had melted on Wednesday, which is a record for this year.

More than 10 billion tons of ice which would otherwise be trapped on land melted, contributing to rising sea levels.

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Dr Mottram stated that 197 billion tons of ice was lost throughout the whole of July.

The DMI said that a single billion tons of ice being lost was equivalent to 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water.

The institute added that 100 billion tons equalled a 0.28mm rise in global sea levels.

Mountains stick up through a massive ice sheet covering Greenland near the eastern coast of the country, March 13, 2018. Picture taken March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
An ice sheet covers 82% of Greenland’s surface

According to the Danish Polar Portal, Greenland’s ice sheet would raise global sea levels by seven metres if it completely melts – and this process has sped up significantly since June.

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July 2012 saw the Greenland ice sheet melt at its fastest rate ever, which resulted in such stark satellite data that NASA scientists were initially convinced there had to be a mistake.

In a blog post, the space agency said 97% of the ice sheet had thawed less than halfway through the month.



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