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VIDEO: Greenland’s record ice melt came partially from Africa

An image taken on June 18, 2019 of the Kangersuneq glacial ice fields in Kapissisillit,...
An image taken on June 18, 2019 of the Kangersuneq glacial ice fields in Kapissisillit, Greenland. Milder weather than normal since the start of summer, led to the UN's weather agency voicing concern that the hot air which produced the recent extreme heat wave in Europe could be headed toward Greenland where it could contribute to increased melting of ice. (AP Photo/Keith Virgo) (KY3)
Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 2:05 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - In 2019, a record of 532 billion tons of ice were lost from Greenland and warm air from Africa played a role in that loss. This loss of ice sets a new record, the most melting since 1948. Much of the melting occurred during June and July of 2019.

NASA created a time-lapse of the temperatures above the surface starting mid-July. In the video, if you look over Europe around July 22, you’ll see the start of a clockwise circulation forming. This is a massive high-pressure dome. As that high pressure got stronger, air to the west dipped down creating a trough. Between these two systems, warm air from Africa got pulled north and west over Greenland. You can track the deep reds and purples as the temperatures warm in Africa and move north across Europe and over Greenland.

According to NASA, “Once the warm air and accompanying high-pressure moved across Greenland, surface air temperatures were up to 9 degrees warmer than the previous several days.”

The record ice melt from Greenland resulted in a 1.5-millimeter average global sea-level rise. It doesn’t sound like much but according to NASA, “Using a hypothetical comparison, all the water combined would cover the entire state of California in more than 4 feet (1.2 meters) of water.”

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