“Scientists know of only three prior occasions during the past 800 years when there has been melting at the very top of the ice cap, which is kept chilled by the large volume of ice beneath. But… it is now the second time this decade it has happened.
“The last time we saw melting at the summit, in 2012, we thought it was the extreme of the extremes, and wouldn’t happen again so quickly,” says Konrad Steffen, a professor of climate and cryosphere at ETH Zurich, who operates a network of 18 monitoring stations across the ice sheet. “But now we are facing more of these extremes.”
“Prof Steffen’s data shows that between July 30 and August 2 a heatwave in Greenland produced several record highs across the ice sheet, including at East Grip, the second highest monitoring station. “If you start melting at the top of the ice sheet, we are going to lose [the] Greenland ice sheet long term,” he adds.
“The immediate trigger for the heatwave was a shift in atmospheric currents high above the earth’s surface: the North Atlantic Jet Stream, a fast current of wind that blows from west to east, had formed a buckle that was trapping warm air over Greenland. The same pattern had caused a record-setting heatwave in Europe a few days earlier, before shifting over to sit on top of the Greenland ice sheet.”
“Mass losses from Greenland this past week were already approaching levels not expected until 2070 based on the best available models.
“It is still too early to tell if the ice losses for the summer will exceed the losses in 2012, but it is clear that the Greenland ice sheet is rapidly responding to climate change, even faster than many scientists expected. “
“In the continually warming Arctic, sea ice has completely melted around the Alaskan coast before, notably during 2017’s melt season, but never this early.
“”It’s cleared earlier than it has in any other year,” said Thoman…
“”I’m losing the ability to communicate the magnitude [of change],” Jeremy Mathis, a longtime Arctic researcher and current board director at the National Academies of Sciences, told Mashable…”
“More than four inches of rain fell in a single day late last week in some areas [of Alaska], equivalent to more than a month’s worth of precipitation, causing flooding and establishing new rainfall records.”
“The worst of the fires are burning in Siberia, where almost 12,000 square miles are ablaze, sending thick smoke across roughly 800 cities in northeastern Russia, including Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk and Chita.
“Upper level winds have carried some of that smoke across the Pacific Ocean and into North America, says NASA, covering parts of Alaska and Canada in addition to our neck of the woods.”
“The mercury soared to 121 degrees Monday in Palm Springs, toppling a 50-year-old maximum temperature record, amid two heat warnings covering the Inland Empire and the Coachella Valley, the National Weather Service reported.”
“The wildfires which hit northern California have become “too extreme” even for the black-backed woodpecker which thrives in burned out forests, according to scientists.
“The bird, which lives in the mountainous areas of the western U.S., favors recently burned trees where it can feast on the larvae of wood-boring beetles that inhabit dead wood.”
“The summer in the islands [of Hawaii] started out hot, with lots of broken heat records in May and June. And that trend has continued. From July 6 to August 4, high temperatures in Hawaii broke or tied previous records at least 35 times…
“…last month, Hawaii saw record highs almost daily.”
“An observation of satellite imagery around the world shows a tale of two basins with an abundance of tropical systems prowling through the western Pacific, while the Atlantic Ocean remains devoid of any organized tropical storms.”
“Fifty-seven people died due to heat-related medical issues in Japan over the week starting July 29, the government said Tuesday, with the number of those taken to hospitals more than tripling from the previous week’s 5,664 to 18,347.
“The weekly figure of those sent to hospitals was the second highest since tallies began in 2008, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.”
“Thousands are flocking to see a Buddhist temple in central Thailand exposed after drought drove water levels to record lows in a dam reservoir where it had been submerged.
“As the reservoir reaches less than 3% of capacity, the remains of Wat Nong Bua Yai, a modern temple submerged during construction of the dam 20 years ago, have became visible in the middle of dry ground.”
“Chennai is not the only Indian city experiencing the possibility of a waterless future. A total of 21 major cities are poised to run out of groundwater next year, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, a government think tank, warned in a 2018 report. “In view of limitations on availability of water resources and rising demand for water, sustainable management of water resources has acquired critical importance,” the report said.”
“The Kariba dam that straddles Zambia and Zimbabwe, the world’s biggest man-made reservoir, is emptying fast, sparking fears the countries may have to cut hydropower production there completely.
“For the two southern African nations already suffering daily blackouts and growing economic pressures… a total shutdown at Kariba would be crippling. Zambia gets about a third of its supply from the dam, Zimbabwe almost half.”
“Nearly a quarter of the world’s population lives in 17 countries facing extremely high water stress, close to “day zero” conditions when the taps run dry, according to a report released Tuesday…
“Qatar, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, UAE, San Marino, Bahrain, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Oman and Botswana made up the top 17.”
“According to initial findings from the Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network, Swiss glaciers experienced unusually high melt rates during the last heat wave, which occurred in late July, and an earlier heat wave that struck the continent in late June…
“Across the European Alps, other regions have also been feeling the heat this summer.”
“Last year, a combination of shrinking alpine glaciers and prolonged summer drought choked off the Rhine transport artery for nearly a month for the first time in living memory…
“Extreme heat in July 2019 caused water levels at Kaub choke point to fall to 150 cm, half the depth from June, disrupting the heaviest barges transportation. All river cargo could cease if the level falls below 50 cm.”
“Massive flooding plaguing several regions in Russia’s Far East is affecting people and animals alike. Apart from reinforcing dams and shielding crucial infrastructure from the rising waters, rescuers also seek to save the animals. Russia’s Far East is facing flooding which is expected to affect several regions.
“At least 37 settlements are already partially flooded in Amur Region and the Jewish Autonomous Region.”
“A flash flood triggered by heavy rains at a popular scenic site in central China has left 12 people dead and one missing.
“Sixty-one people were rescued from the flooding Sunday evening at Duobi Gorge in Hubei province, state broadcaster CCTV said.”
“July this year was the warmest month ever recorded worldwide, satellite data has confirmed. The assessment was carried out by researchers at the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
“Scientists say it’s the latest sign that Earth is experiencing unprecedented warming.”