Extreme ice melting events in Greenland have become more frequent and more intense over the past 40 years, raising sea levels and the risk of flooding worldwide according to a recent study in Nature Communications.

The research, conducted by members of ESA's Climate Change Initiative Ice Sheets team, reveal that Greenland’s meltwater runoff has risen by 21% over the past four decades, and has become 60% more erratic from one summer to the next.

The research shows that between 2011 and 2020 meltwater runoff from Greenland raised the global sea level by one centimetre. Worryingly, one third of this total was produced in just two separate years, in 2012 and 2019 – two hot summers when extreme weather led to record-breaking levels of ice melting not seen in the past 40 years.

Greenland meltwater runoff

Read full story: Meltwater runoff from Greenland becoming more erratic


Slater, T., Shepherd, A., McMillan, M. et al. Increased variability in Greenland Ice Sheet runoff from satellite observations. Nat Commun 12, 6069 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-26229-4