On Friday, NASA released the news that the Greenland icesheet is melting faster than previously thought. This figure is three times higher than those recorded in the first two years of measurements of the thickness of the sheet.
It hardly needs saying that this is very serious. The icesheet melting completely would raise global sea levels by 6.5 meters.
This danger is featured in Al Gore’s excellent film, An Inconvenient Truth, which is due for UK release next month on September 8th. The melting of Greenland icesheet could disrupt the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe warm. He argues that the disruption of the stream in the 1400s by the melting of another large glacier, may have caused the mini-ice age.
The problem is that once an ice sheet starts to melt, it builds up pools of liquid water on the surface, which absorb more heat. This water also bores through the ice, forming a layer between the ice and the ground, making it slide off into the sea far more easily.
It’s clear that we are now approaching the point of no return on climate change. We need tough action to invest in renewable energy, promote public transport, and, perhaps most unpalatable to the public, decrease the emissions generated by the huge expansion of aviation in recent years.