An unprecedented heatwave hit Europe last month, with cities across the continent hitting new all-time high temperatures. Among one of the worst places impacted by the weather was Greenland, which the Washington Post reports lost 12.5 billion tons of ice in a single day. The worst single day loss of ice to hit Greenland happened back in 2012, when more than 10 billion tons of ice melted and ran off into the ocean.

On Aug. 1 Greenland hit 22 degrees celsius (roughly 71 fahrenheit), and the results of that high can be seen below. 

Greenland's landmass is comprised of 80 percent ice, but with the impact climate change is having on the environment that will begin to rapidly decline. Roughly 60 percent of the ice sheet was impacted by the late July/early August heatwave. Throughout the high temperatures, a total of 197 billion tons of ice was lost.


The Greenland ice sheet experienced its greatest single day volume loss event on record on Thursday, shedding 12.5 billion tons of ice into the ocean after the record-breaking heat wave that hit Europe in July moved north and pushed temperatures 15 to 30 degrees above normal, the Washington Post reported. The massive melt event has replaced the surface’s fresh snow with ash-colored ice that was left behind nearly 20,000 years ago, according to the Post. A day prior, melting occurred on 60% of the ice sheet in the biggest single-day melt event since July 2012, when 97% of the ice sheet saw melting. With more than 10 billion tons of ice lost on Wednesday, the ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice to the oceans this July alone, the AP reported. A researcher with the Danish Meteorological Institute told the Post that amount is enough to raise sea levels by 0.02 inches (0.5 mm) in the span of a month. The Greenland ice sheet melts every summer, but it experienced an early record summer melting this year, when 45% of the surface melted in June, the earliest date this amount of melting had occurred since 1979. Although the Greenland ice sheet, the second largest ice body in the world, gains mass over the winter from snow, the ice sheet’s mass has begun to decline as warmer temperatures have led to increased melting outpacing the accumulation of snow in winter. Climate models project that local warming in Greenland will be 5°F (3°C) to 16°F (9°C) during this century, which would initiate the long-term melting of the ice sheet, leading to a complete melting of the ice sheet over centuries that would result in a global sea level rise of about 23 feet (7 meters). A rise of this level would inundate almost every major coastal city in the world, according to studies. (📹: Caspar Haarløv “Into The Ice” / AP, 📝: @kassy) - #globalwarming #climatechange #climate #environment #ice #icesheet #meltwater #water #melting #melt #snow #glacier #temperature #temperatures #sea #sealevel #sealevels #sea #ocean #weather #stopclimatechange #climatechangeisreal #savetheenvironment #environmentalism #savetheearth #savourplanet #sustainability #earth #greenlandicesheet #greenland

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As the weather begins to head back to more seasonally normal temperatures, parts of the ice sheet will solidify again. But the ice that was lost to the ocean will regardless have an irreversible impact on the sea level rise.