A new study has found a surprising culprit behind Greenland's ice loss.
Scientists have achieved a tremendous breakthrough in understanding the gradual loss of the Greenland ice sheet, and they’ve determined that clouds are what’s accelerating it.
The melting of Greenland’s ice sheet is cause for great concern as climate change worries rise to the forefront. The melting of this ice sheet could cause the global sea level to rise dramatically. But the fact that clouds are likely behind this phenomenon, based on a new study, is sending some ripples through the scientific community, according to a Washington Post report.
It’s an important discovery that could allow scientists to make more accurate predictions about the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. If climate change causes more cloud cover over the ice sheet, it could accelerate the process.
Clouds can accelerate warming by trapping heat on the surface of the Earth, resulting in higher surface temperature and thus increasing the rate of melting.
The highest amount of melting actually occurs at night, when the clouds prevent temperatures from cooling as much as they normally would. The clouds also keep ice that has melted from refreezing.
Still, the subject remains somewhat controversial, as many scientists disagree on how much effect cloud cover has on Greenland’s ice sheet. There haven’t been many studies that have enough scale to truly tackle the problem.
It’s tough to conduct such research as it is hard for scientists to observe clouds by satellite, as clouds and ice look similar from the air. Infrared techniques don’t work that well either, as clouds and ice cover have a similar temperature.
However, this discovery does provide a new lead for scientists who are hoping to understand more about the effects of climate change, and create better models to predict ice loss.
The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.