At the summit of Greenland, August saw rain rather than snow for the first time since records began as the northern part of the world reported warmer-than-ordinary summer temperatures.
The Arctic is set to see more rainfall than snow sometime between 2060 and 2070, marking a significant change in rainfall patterns as the climate crisis pushes up temperatures in the region, according to the study published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday.
But the authors of the study, published Tuesday, said the transition from snow to rain in some parts of the Arctic, especially in Greenland, is likely to take place even if global warming is halted to 1.5 degrees.
The region experienced a preview of its rainy future in August 2007, when temperatures at the top of Greenland were above freezing for the third consecutive time in less than a decade.
Scientists say that a precipitation-dominated Arctic has the potential to destabilize Greenland’s ice sheet mass balance and cause global sea level rise.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center says this was the heaviest period of ice cover snow since records began in 1950 and the ice mass lost from that one summer day was seven times higher than the overall average in that time of year.
Although scientists who did not participate in the study overwhelmingly agreed that the Arctic has been rapidly changing amidst the climate crisis, some noted cautiously the study’s findings, pointing to an urgent need for further observations and research.
“While it’s inevitable that Arctic rainfall will increase as the climate warms, rains are also likely to become more intense,” Mark Serreze, the study’s co-author and director of the NASA’s National Weather Service, told CNN.