In Greenland, vegetation is actively appearing on the site of the melting ice sheet. Also, the number of wetlands that produce methane has quadrupled.
Such changes threaten to increase greenhouse gas emissions, sea level rise and landscape instability.
This is reported by The Guardian with reference to a study published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.
British scientists saw that natural changes began in the 1980s. Since then, large areas of ice have been replaced by barren rocks, wetlands, and scrub.
|In Greenland, the amount of vegetation is actively increasing. Photo: Michael_PhD
With the help of satellite images, scientists have established that over the past three decades, about 17,700 square kilometers of the Greenland ice sheet and glaciers have melted. This is 1.6% of the country’s total ice cover and is equivalent to the area of Albania.
Due to the melting of the ice, the land area with vegetation increased by 54.3 thousand square kilometers.
According to the combined data, the area of wetlands that are the source of methane emissions has almost quadrupled across Greenland.
The biggest changes were recorded on the outskirts of the Kangerlussuaq settlement in the southwest and in some areas in the northeast.
According to scientists, since the 1970s, Greenland has been “warming” twice as fast as the world average. The average annual air temperature in the country between 2007-2012 was 3 degrees warmer than between 1979-2000.
In addition, there are indications that increased vegetation is leading to further ice loss.
“Increased vegetation, occurring in tandem with retreating glaciers and ice sheets, is significantly altering the flow of sediment and nutrients into coastal waters. These changes are critical, especially for indigenous peoples whose traditional hunting activities depend on the stability of these delicate ecosystems.
In addition, the loss of Greenland ice mass is a significant contributor to global sea level rise, a trend that poses significant challenges both now and in the future.” – noted the co-author of the study, Michael Grimes.
It will be recalled that scientists have established that in 200 years part of the ice sheet of Antarctica has decreased by 450 meters.
Read also: British polar explorers showed an iceberg the size of London that broke off in Antarctica. VIDEO