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Western Greenland. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Greenland's ice sheet has melted beyond the point of no return, contributing to rising ocean levels, a new study published in the journal Nature Communications Earth and Environment finds.

Why it matters: Even if global warming were to stop imminently, annual snowfall that replenishes the ice sheet cannot keep pace with the ice that is flowing into the ocean from glaciers.

What they found: Scientists analyzed the satellite data of more than 200 glaciers across the Arctic territory spanning nearly 40 years through 2018, finding that the ice sheet shrank so quickly that snowfall could not keep up with the rate of melting from parts of the glacier exposed to warming ocean water.

  • The study also found that the ice sheet is retreating in bursts, resulting in a swift and unpredictable rise in sea levels.
    • Greenland contributes 280 billion metric tons of melting ice into the ocean each year, making it the largest physical source of rising ocean levels.

What they're saying: "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, per CNN.

  • "We've passed the point of no return but there's obviously more to come," Howat said. "Rather than being a single tipping point in which we've gone from a happy ice sheet to a rapidly collapsing ice sheet, it's more of a staircase where we've fallen off the first step but there's many more steps to go down into the pit."
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Ubisoft workers demand company accountability in open letter

Photo: Frederic Brown / Getty Images

Close to 500 current and former employees of “Assassin’s Creed” publisher Ubisoft are standing in solidarity with protesting game developers at Activision Blizzard with a letter that criticizes their company's handling of sexual misconduct.

Why it matters: Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard workers are framing the actions as part of a bigger movement meant to have lasting change in the industry and its culture.

Heat dome roasts Northwest, Central states as "derecho" threat looms in Midwest

Weather map showing a sprawling heat dome centered over Kansas on July 30, 2021. (WeatherBell.com)

The latest in a series of relentless heat waves is bringing dangerously hot temperatures to a the Central U.S. on Wednesday, and will contribute to a severe thunderstorm outbreak across the Upper Midwest. The heat will expand in scope toward the end of the week.

The big picture: Heat watches, warnings and advisories are in effect across 19 states, from Portland, Oregon east to Minneapolis, and running all the way south to New Orleans. Temperatures of between 10°F and 15°F above average in these areas along with high humidity poses a public health threat.

Google offices to mandate vaccines

Photo: Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

Google announced Wednesday it would require all in-office workers and visitors to be vaccinated and that employees could continue working from home through Oct. 18.

Why it matters: It's another sign that the Delta variant's spread is upending corporate plans for a quick and steady resumption of in-office work.