Greenland lost 197-billion tons of ice last month

Ice floes float in Baffin Bay between Canada and Greenland above the Arctic circle on July 10, 2008. (Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

A heat wave that smashed high temperature records in five European countries is now accelerating the melting of Greenland's ice sheet and causing massive ice loss in the Arctic.

More than 80 per cent of Greenland's surface is covered in ice.

More than 10-billion tons of ice was lost to the oceans by surface melt on Wednesday alone, creating a net mass ice loss of some 197-billion tons from Greenland last month.

The scope of Wednesday's ice melt is hard to grasp.

Just one-billion tons of ice loss is equivalent to about 400-thousand Olympic-sized swimming pools.

And the forecast calls for continuing warm and sunny weather.