The Arctic Ice Crisis
There’s no place on Earth that’s changing faster â€“ and no place where that change matters more â€“ than Greenland. Late last month, NASA reported that ice all across the vast glacial interior of the world’s largest island was melting â€“ a “freak event” that hadn’t occurred for at least 150 years. The alarming discovery briefly focused the media’s attention on a place that rarely makes headlines. Rapid Ice Melt Baffles Scientists, The Wall Street Journal declared.
In fact, scientists weren’t baffled at all â€“ a paper published just weeks before had predicted that an abrupt, islandwide melt was imminent. The rapid loss of ice is only the latest in a chain of events that have upended conventional understanding of how the Earth’s “cryosphere” â€“ its frozen places â€“ behave. Taken together, the events offer new insight into how fast the world’s seas are likely to rise as a result of global warming â€“ and hence, the fate of major cities like New York and Miami and Mumbai.