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CO2 Budget Depletion

22 May 2023 | Greenland

One of Greenland’s largest glaciers is actively melting from beneath

Below the surface, the Petermann Glacier, one of Greenland’s largest, is actively melting–from beneath. Researchers at UCI and NASA’s JPL have discovered that the glacier’s grounding line–that is, the point where the glacier leaves its bed of land and extends into the ocean, responds to the tide. Surges in tide force warming water further into the glacier’s base between 2-6km, accelerating its melt rapidly. Consequently, between 2016-2022, the grounding line has retreated 4km inland. This research is significant as it shows that glaciers terminating beneath the ocean surface are not resistant to melting, as previously believed.

Dr Helen Millman, the new WEF Hoffmann Fellow on Polar Issues, highlights some of the catastrophic significance. According to Millman, “Projections of sea level rise from ice sheets could double as study shows that tidal action causes melt rate to increase dramatically. This means that we may be heading for the worst-case scenario for global sea level rise and hundreds of millions of people could be displaced by the end of this century.”

To learn more, check out this article.

Image was captured by NASA’s AQUA satellite in July, 2012.



The following gauges show up-to-date data regarding key indicators in the Arctic. These indicators clearly point to the crisis at hand.

Greenland rate of ice loss
13 million l/s
on average
13 million tonnes/s
on average
Arctic Sea Ice Extent
434,999 km²
below 1981-2010 average on 11-Apr-2024
167,953 mi²
below 1981-2010 average on 11-Apr-2024
Arctic Amplification
4 times
faster than global average
Arctic 66N+ Wildfire emissions
0.00 megatonnes CO₂e
CO₂e emissions in 2024 so far
Arctic Air Quality (PM2.5)
3.12 microgram per cubic meter
on 12-Apr-2024
Global mean Sea Level
since 1993