The climatologist who took the photo said it is 'more symbolic than scientific to many'
A photo posted by a Danish scientist on Twitter last week appeared to show seven huskies miraculously walking on water, pulling a dogsled across a vast blue northern sea.
While that isn’t what’s really happening, the truth is highlighting the uneasy reality of rapidly melting ice in Greenland.
@SteffenMalskaer got the difficult task of retrieving our oceanographic moorings and weather station on sea ice in North West Greenland this year. Rapid melt and sea ice with low permeability and few cracks leaves the melt water on top. pic.twitter.com/ytlBDTrVeD— Rasmus Tonboe (@RasmusTonboe) June 14, 2019
Steffen M. Olsen, the climatologist who took the photo in the Inglefield Bredning fjord, tweeted that they were still riding on 1.2 metres of thick ice, but some cracks made by rapid melting caused the surface to flood. He said the water beneath was about 870 metres deep, but he was accompanied by local hunters who are experts in navigating the icy terrain.
According to a study published in February in the journal PNAS , the ice in Greenland has been melting faster than scientists previously thought. But rather than blaming melting glaciers, researchers found that most of the melting came from surface ice melting due to rising global temperatures. If all of Greenland’s ice sheet were to melt, global sea levels would rise by seven metres.
Communities in #Greenland rely on the sea ice for transport, hunting and fishing. Extreme events, here flooding of the ice by abrupt onset of surface melt call for an incresed predictive capacity in the Arctic @BG10Blueaction @polarprediction @dmidk https://t.co/Y1EWU1eurA— Steffen M. Olsen (@SteffenMalskaer) June 14, 2019
A climatologist from the Danish Meteorological Institute, where Olsen works, told The Guardian that they saw a high temperature increase in the region, which caused a lot of melting ice. But Ruth Mottram added that the temperatures were not unprecedented, “so it’s hard to pin it down to climate change alone.”
Olsen tweeted that the the photo is “more symbolic than scientific to many.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019