Europe’s heatwave threatens to push Greenland toward record melting

Conditions are similar to those in 2012, when Greenland's ice cap saw record melting — and Arctic sea ice hit a record low.

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As a heat wave baked Europe last week, officials with the World Meteorological Organization warned that the unusually warm temperatures were poised to affect Greenland as well — threatening to cause a record-setting melt of the island’s ice cap.

The European heatwave has already set records in nearby Nordic nations.

Greenland’s ice sheet previously saw record melting in 2012, the same year that Arctic sea ice reached its lowest recorded summer minimum. A Danish researcher told The Washington Post that conditions this summer constitute “a very similar situation to 2012.”

[Time will tell if this is a record summer for Greenland ice melt, but the pattern over the past 20 years is clear]

Some observers had already speculated that this year might bring new record melting to Greenland, as spring temperatures soared — and an iconic image of sled dogs traveling over unusual spring melt traveled around the world.

With warmth has also come a second consecutive year of significant wildfires in the Arctic — including a relatively rare one that burned through tundra outside Sisimiut in Greenland earlier this month.