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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

3 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Rising rates may hammer the stock market

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Stocks are much more vulnerable to interest rate swings than they used to be.

Why it matters: A sharp rise in rates in early 2022 is the key reason the stock market is off to an ugly start. And with the Federal Reserve making noise about trying to keep inflation in check, rates could go higher.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal complicates Big Tech regulation

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Microsoft's surprise $68 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard is adding a fresh twist to the heated debate over which tech companies have monopolies that need to be reined in.

The big picture: The deal could force a question the company has happily ducked for a decade: whether its size and power make it just as deserving of regulatory scrutiny as its Big Tech rivals.