PARIS: Greenland's icesheet, feared as a major driver of rising sea levels, shed a record amount of melted snow and ice in 2010, scientists revealed a day after the United Nations said last year was the warmest on record.
The 2010 runoff was more than twice the average annual loss in Greenland over the previous three decades, surpassing a record set in 2007, said the study, published in the US-based journalEnvironmental Research Letters.
Ice melt has now topped this benchmark every year since 1996, according to data derived from long-term satellite observations.
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Were it to melt entirely, Greenland's icesheet would drive up ocean levels by some seven metres, drowning the world's coastal cities.
Researchers have suggested different figures for how much, and how fast, Greenland is shedding its icy mantle, which is up to three kilometres thick in places.
But they agree climate change is largely to blame: temperatures in the Arctic region have risen at two to three times the global average over the past 40 years.