A worrisome amount of the Greenland ice sheet has melted in a very short period of time. In just four days, surface melting went from 40% to 97%.
Three different satellites revealed melting of snow and ice on Greenland. When images came back from the first satellite, scientists were incredulous. Instruments on two other satellites, however, proved the images to be accurate.
NASA described the melting as “unprecedented” in their press release about the event.
Words such as “baffling” and “freak event” have been used in recent reports, causing readers to believe Greenland has never before melted. In reality, Greenland melts every year at this time. Greenland melting is not alarming. It’s the sheer amount of melting and at such an accelerated pace. Secondly, a melting of the Greenland ice sheet of this magnitude is expected to occur every 150 years. The last mass melting recorded was in 1889, so this event is right on time.
Marlo Lewis of globalwarming.org breaks down the event into two questions: 1)Did global warming cause the huge amount of surface melting between July 8 and July 12? 2)How worried should we be?
The answer to the first question is that it is very unlikely that greenhouse warming is the cause. NASA attributes the rapid surface ice melt to a high pressure blocking pattern, the same situation that explains the recent heat wave and drought that covered most of the United States. NASA reports, “This extreme melt event coincided with an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome, over Greenland. This latest heat dome started to move over Greenland on July 8, and then parked itself over the ice sheet about three days later.”
Professor Eric Wolff of the British Antarctic Survey told BBC News, “…As always we cannot attribute any individual extreme event to climate change: We will have to wait and see if more such events occur in the next few years to understand its significance for both the climate and the health of the ice sheet.”
As for question 2, the real concern is if the rapid melting will affect sea-level rise. Scientists agree that Greenland is only contributing about one-fourth of a millimeter of sea-level rise per year. That measurement in addition to the ocean rising with increasing temperatures, melting from other land-based ice, and the grand total of sea-rise by the end of the century is about one foot.
It is worth noting that as temperatures decreased, the thawed ice began to freeze again as early as July 14.
Greenland Goes Green: Ice Sheet Melted in Four Days
On July 8, NASA satellite imagery showed about 40 percent of Greenland’s top ice layer intact. By July 12, only four days later, 97 percent of the ice had melted. Margaret Warner asks NASA’s Thomas Wagner for scientific explanation of the massive thaw.
The Greenland Ice Sheet in a Changing Climate
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Flying 500 Meters Above the Greenland Ice Sheet | NASA P-3 Orion Arctic Glacier
Visit my website at http://www.junglejoel.com – five teachers were invited on board NASA’s P-3B aircraft to fly at 500 meters above the glaciers of Greenland with Operation IceBridge, a six-year mission to study Arctic and Antarctic ice. Please rate and comment, thanks!
Green Report – Frightening News – Greenland’s Ice Sheet
NASA scientists were left stunned after analyzing data showing that Greenland’s ice sheet is melting at an unprecedented rate. Three independent satellites confirmed that over four days, the amount of ice melting in Greenland jumped from 40% to 97% – showed by this chart – the image on the left is from july 8 and the image on right is from July 12th. As one NASA scientist wrote in a press release, “This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: Was this real or was it due to a data error?” Unfortunately, it’s very much real – and in 30 years of observations, never has this much ice melted away from Greenland so fast. Of course – oil industry funded scientists will tell us everything is just fine – and it’s just a really hot summer. Meanwhile, they’re the ones most likely looking for mountaintop real estate – away from soon-to-be rising oceans.
NASA Video Shows Greenland Melting
NASA has released a time-lapse animation of the Greenland’s ice sheet from 1979 through 2009.
More @ the NASA page explaining the details: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003700/a003720/index.html
The Greenland Ice Sheet in a Changing Climate