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Watergeddon News: RIP Konrad Steffen | Greenland's Point of No Return

Two unfortunate events happened within 24 hours of each other last week. On August 13, 2020, Konrad Steffen, who sounded the alarm on Greenland ice, died after falling into the kind of crevasse that the warming has created. On August 14, 2020, a new study by researchers at Ohio State University claims that Greenland's ice sheet has melted to a new point of no return.

Greenland: a canary in a coal mine for rising seas

As I've said, written in the Watergeddon blog, nature has no reset button. From a complexity science perspective, the report is disturbing because there is no way to turn the clock on Greenland.

As the two articles below discuss, understanding, and analyzing Greenland’s ice sheet is critical to understanding how climate change will affect sea-level rise. You could say that Greenland is the canary in a coal mine when it comes to sea level rising. According to the authors, current projections say that if the planet warms by two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times, average sea levels will rise by more than two feet, and 32 to 80 million people will be exposed to coastal flooding.

If the planet warms by 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times, average sea levels will rise by more than two feet, and 32 to 80 million people will be exposed to coastal flooding.

What happens to the cities across the world where the sea level rises by two degrees Celsius?

Where do these unfortunate people go? How does that affect the cost of living in the areas where they migrate to survive?

What happens to the real estate worth billions of and billions of dollars? What happens to the insurance companies that insured all that real estate?

What happens if the sea level rising happens faster than the scientist predicts due to the non-linear behavior of nature?

More than a mile thick, Greenland's ice sheet is the second largest mass of freshwater on the planet, after Antarctica. How does the melting of this massive amount of ice change the ocean currents beneath the sea? Will it amplify the hurricanes and storms?

Greenland’s ice sheet has melted to a point of no return, according to new study


o "The ice sheet is now in this new dynamic state, where even if we went back to a climate that was more like what we had 20 or 30 years ago, we would still be pretty quickly losing mass," Ian Howat, co-author of the study and a professor at Ohio State University, said.

o Greenland's ice sheet dumps more than 280 billion metric tons of melting ice into the ocean each year, making it the greatest single contributor to global sea level rise, according to Michalea King, the lead author of the study and researcher at Ohio State University. The ice loss has been so massive in recent years, she said, that it has caused a measurable change in the gravitational field over Greenland.


o Since Greenland is the canary in the coal mine for sea-level rise, tracking the melting rate of the glaciers needs to be a priority for government officials across the globe. Even though water is a regional issue, the water effects in one part of the world have global consequences in the other part of the world. Everything is interlinked and connected.

Watch: A New Climate: Greenland's melting ice

o The Greenland ice sheet is melting seven times faster than three decades ago, which could expose 400 million people to coastal flooding each year. – Sky News, December 10, 2019

Konrad Steffen, Who Sounded Alarm on Greenland Ice, Dies at 68

A renowned researcher on rising sea levels, he died after falling into the kind of crevasse that warming has created, August 13, 2002 by John Schwartz, New York Times.


o Konrad Steffen, an Arctic scientist whose work showed that climate change is melting Greenland’s vast ice sheet with increasing speed, died on Saturday in an accident near a research station he created there 30 years ago. He was 68.

o Police investigators said he had fallen into a crevasse in the ice and drowned in the deep water below.

o His Greenland research station became a destination for journalists, political leaders and other dignitaries to see climate change from the front row.

o Richard B. Alley, a professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University, called Dr. Steffen “a giant in the field,” although his scientific work was not, he allowed, “sexy.” Dr. Steffen focused on such tasks as measuring the balance of snowfall and ice melt and maintaining weather stations.

o One visitor, former Vice President Al Gore, posted a tweet on Monday stating that “Koni’s renowned work as a glaciologist has been instrumental in the world’s deepened understanding of the climate crisis.”

o In his book The Ice at the End of the World,” the journalist Jon Gertner wrote that by 2017, Dr. Steffen’s measurements suggested that the ice had dropped by nearly 40 feet at Swiss Camp. In lectures, he would joke that he would sell the station for a dollar.


o Dr. Konrad Steffen was a hero of the planet Earth. God rest his soul.

o In his memory, we should carefully observe the melting rate of the ice and demand that governments start planning for a future where large urban cities worldwide are underwater. Sea level rising is already happening. How much time do we have to prepare for it?

National Snow and Ice Data Center

NSIDC manages and distributes scientific data, creates tools for data access, supports data users, performs scientific research, and educates the public about the cryosphere.


This is an excellent resource to monitor the Greenland ice conditions.

Video: How will the melting of the Arctic affect YOU?

o The Arctic affects the word's ecosystems - and weather systems. But the latest evidence suggests ice levels could be devastated within decades.


This fascinating video provides great advice: "Don’t buy ocean front property” and the scientist predicts Ice Free Arctic within 20-30 years.

Video: Melting ice – the future of the Arctic | DW Documentary


o What happens to Arctic in the next 20-30 years? Will it become the Polar Silk Road? Find out by watching this documentary.

Please add your comments below and share this article with friends.

– Damir


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