Europe's Heat Wave Is Melting Billions of Tons of Ice in Greenland

RobertH82/iStock via Getty Images
RobertH82/iStock via Getty Images

Mainland Europe has survived the worst of a heat wave that broke records last month, but in Greenland, the trouble is just beginning. As CNN reports, the high temperatures have moved north and are currently melting Greenland's ice sheet at a rate of billions of tons of ice per day, which is resulting in sea level rise across the globe.

This year has already been harrowing for the Greenland ice sheet, the second largest in the world. Normally, the sheet starts losing ice in the summer, but in 2019, the melting began in May. That put it on track to break the record for total ice melt set in 2012. Last month, 197 billion tons of ice disappeared from Greenland, and on August 1 alone, 11 billion tons of ice melted into the sea.

Such historic rates of ice loss aren't just Greenland's problem. The melted ice from July added enough freshwater to the ocean to raise global sea levels by 0.5 millimeters. That number could reach 1 millimeter or more by the end of the year, and in tropical parts of the world, levels will creep even higher.

One millimeter sounds small, but even minor increases in global sea levels can be disastrous. More frequent floods and erosion, as well as deadlier hurricanes and typhoons, are just some of the consequences of melted polar ice flooding the world's oceans.

Following July's heat wave, European scientists concluded that the soaring temperatures were linked to human-caused climate change. They emphasized the need to reduce carbon emissions in order to mitigate similar extreme heat events in the future.

[h/t CNN]

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

Funko
Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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Thailand National Park Officials Mailed Trash Back to Litterbugs

Spiderstock/iStock via Getty Images
Spiderstock/iStock via Getty Images

If hefty fines aren't enough to stop people from littering in Thailand's national parks, officials hope that good, old-fashioned guilt-tripping will do the trick. As The New York Times reports, Khao Yai National Park in central Thailand responded to a recent littering offense by mailing abandoned trash back to the litterbugs who left it there.

The responsible party left behind a tent filled with trash after camping overnight in Khao Yai. In Thailand, littering in a national park is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $16,000 fine. The park officials took a less conventional approach to this particular crime. After cross-referencing equipment rental forms with a discarded prescription bottle, they were able to track down the offenders and mail them their forgotten garbage.

The clear bag of trash came with a note. “You have forgotten some of your belongings at the Khao Yai National Park,” it read. “Please let us return these to you.” Varawut Silpa-archa, Thailand's environment minister, referenced the incident in a Facebook post, writing, “I will pick up every single piece of your trash, pack them well in a box, and mail it to your home as a souvenir." In addition to getting a package of trash in the mail, the unidentified campers have also been banned from staying in the park overnight.

Officials tasked with protecting the environment have seen firsthand the damage litter can cause. Plastics can take centuries to break down, and in that time they pose a serious threat to wildlife. Trash that builds up in places where people seek refuge can also be bad for their mental health. A 2015 study found that seeing litter on a beach counters the restorative qualities of being in nature.

[h/t The New York Times]