No one knows when the last time it rained in this remote area of Earth.
Being located at an altitude of 3,216 meters in the Arctic region, with temperatures below zero almost all the time, the Greenland peak usually does not have atmospheric conditions to generate precipitation.
Therefore, what happened on August 14 surprised researchers at the Summit station, from the American agency National Science Foundation, which monitors the climate in this part of the planet.
It rained “for several hours,” according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Nothing similar had been observed since the records began to be made in 1987, according to information shared by scientist Martin Stendel on his social networks.
According to the report, “the air temperature stayed above zero for about nine hours”. The increase in thermometers created melt conditions that have only been seen on three occasions previously: 1995, 2012 and 2019.
Yet another example of how global warming is affecting places as remote as the peak of Greenland, according to experts.
“This is not a healthy sign for an ice sheet,” Indrani Das, a glaciologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told the Reuters news agency.
“Water on ice is bad… It makes the mantle more prone to melt on the surface.”
‘It rained all day’
Although it often rains on the frozen surface of Greenland, the phenomenon has never been observed at its highest point.
At the research station, scientists were surprised to see drops of water running down the windows of the barracks ? and even shared images on social networks.
“On Saturday, it basically rained all day, every hour the team took weather observations,” engineer Zoe Courville told The Washington Post.
“And it’s the first time you’ve seen it at the station.”
Has the temperature reached 0.48°C ? the fourth time in the last 25 years that it surpasses zero in that area.
The thermometers stayed above 0°C for several hours, which, combined with rain, created conditions for melting on the peak surface and surrounding areas, according to NSIDC data.
In total, the melt reached 872,000 square kilometers on the 14th.
“In 2012 and 2021 alone there was more than one 800,000 square kilometer melting event,” highlights the NSIDC report.
The Arctic region is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the planet due to climate change, explains Steve Turton, an environmental geography researcher at the Central University of Queensland, Australia, in an article on The Conversation website.
While in the rest of the planet the temperature increased by an average of 1°C, in the region this rate reached almost 2°C.
“This troubling rain on top of Greenland is not an isolated event,” said Twila Moon, an NSIDC scientist.
Along with the increase in floods, fires and other extreme events, it is one of many “red flags” pointing to the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.