The Impact Of Climate Change Is Even Worse Than You Realize

A breathtaking new video shows one stark reality of climate change: A huge portion of Greenland is literally melting away.

The New York Times deployed a drone to capture the devastating effects of rising temperatures on the northern Atlantic nation. The drone's cameras rolled as it flew above part of Greenland's melting ice sheet. Scientists are using the footage to document and better understand just how quickly Greenland is melting.

The result? Sweeping aerial views of deep blue rivers and pools punctuating what the newspaper describes as a "wrap-around vista of white" that makes up the tundra of ice.

The striking scenes illustrate a change with serious consequences — a complete melt of the ice sheet would increase sea levels by about 20 feet worldwide, according to the Times. The team of scientists profiled in the article is doing the dangerous job of collecting data about the melt to better understand what the paper calls "one of the most consequential impacts of global warming."

A complete melt of Greenland's ice sheet would increase sea levels by about 20 feet worldwide.

The New York Times
"We scientists love to sit at our computers and use climate models to make those predictions," Laurence C. Smith, a climate scientist on the team, told the Times. “But to really know what’s happening, that kind of understanding can only come about through empirical measurements in the field.”

It was the first time the Times has used a drone on a reporting assignment, according to a post by photographer Josh Haner. Though the project presented unique challenges — battery life lasted only about eight minutes, given the cold temperatures, and it would have been impossible to retrieve the footage if the drone crashed — the results were spectacular.

"During the flight, I was mesmerized as I watched the live video from the camera on a tablet attached to my controller. I thought: This is what birds must feel as they fly up Alpine streams, skimming the surface of the water," Haner wrote.

But if the world wants to halt or at least slow the melting of ice, real and immediate action is needed. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences earlier this month showed that New Orleans and Miami will be locked in to higher sea levels and partially underwater in coming years — no matter what humans do to counteract climate change.

Click here to read the full New York Times piece and to see more photos and graphics explaining Greenland's melting ice sheet.

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