Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt

    Newer Older

    July 24, 2012

    Image caption: Extent of surface melt over Greenland’s ice sheet on July 8 (left) and July 12 (right). Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface. In just a few days, the melting had dramatically accelerated and an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had thawed by July 12. In the image, the areas classified as “probable melt” (light pink) correspond to those sites where at least one satellite detected surface melting. The areas classified as “melt” (dark pink) correspond to sites where two or three satellites detected surface melting. The satellites are measuring different physical properties at different scales and are passing over Greenland at different times. As a whole, they provide a picture of an extreme melt event about which scientists are very confident.

    Credit: Nicolo E. DiGirolamo, SSAI/NASA GSFC, and Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory

    ----

    For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists.

    On average in the summer, about half of the surface of Greenland's ice sheet naturally melts. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically. According to satellite data, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July.

    Researchers have not yet determined whether this extensive melt event will affect the overall volume of ice loss this summer and contribute to sea level rise.

    "The Greenland ice sheet is a vast area with a varied history of change. This event, combined with other natural but uncommon phenomena, such as the large calving event last week on Petermann Glacier, are part of a complex story," said Tom Wagner, NASA's cryosphere program manager in Washington. "Satellite observations are helping us understand how events like these may relate to one another as well as to the broader climate system."

    To read more on this story and to download the high res files go to: www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/greenland-melt.html

    NASA image use policy.

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

    Follow us on Twitter

    Like us on Facebook

    Find us on Instagram

    Hettie Naude.(Off. Husband and Louis sick), and 34 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. @ires 21 months ago | reply

      disturbing news...

    2. 666isMONEY ☮ ♥ & ☠ 21 months ago | reply

      From Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth":

    3. thoeflich 21 months ago | reply

      This is pretty scary stuff as I fear it relates to the overall warming of the earth. The good news is I could someday have beachfront property here in Ohio.

    4. mpmark 21 months ago | reply

      what is distrubing is: few take not of the melting, many will feel the consequences later on...so sad.

    5. goclooney go 21 months ago | reply

      just in 4 days, very scary news

    6. Freja & Zoe 21 months ago | reply

      so scary... !

    7. Mehdi Bouhalassa 21 months ago | reply

      We're done. And it's our fault. How shameful, there is no words... The whole of humanity... What a shame.

    8. BarnhartAl 21 months ago | reply

      Before run off the global warming deep end, has anyone thought to research the sun activity over the past few months. Plus what is expected in thru 2014? Fear mongering for profit is what has taken place. Check your utility bills? gone up?
      Even the man who originated the Weather Channel believes global warming is a hoax. Ivar Giaever, a Nobel Prize Winning Physicist also protested the LACK of science in the politically correct global warming commentary. How about that fraudulent data they were caught manufacturing. Oh well, that's all research under the bridge.
      If you want to blame humanity for anything, try ignorance and gulliability. Also, wish they would stop killing the dolphins and whales!

    9. Mehdi Bouhalassa 21 months ago | reply

      A couple of Nobel Prizes believed in God.
      And I have enough of my senses to tell me something's wrong.
      How about the old Inuits, at loss at predicting time, seeing permafrost melt?
      You mention ignorance and gulliability... We're just monkeys, maybe you need a reality check.

    10. siri maltesh 21 months ago | reply

      Global warming a hoax?? surely not, in 4 billion years of planetary climactic history, I doubt the weather has changed as much as it has in the last 100 years.......oh wait.....grew a brain and now realise how moronic that sounded...never mind..

    11. siri maltesh 21 months ago | reply

      For those who not only do not understand sarcasm, but entirely missed what I meant (yea brainwashing does take away your ability to think for yourselves...I kind of factored that in here), the natural evolution of the planet has seen many NATURAL climactic shifts (some of those can be sudden and very dramatic)...I believe it is part of the NATURAL progression of the planetary evolutionary process.....I am now done thinking for you, look up more information (and not just what is spoon fed from the panic mongers looking to make some quick money by eco scaring the crap out of people too foolish to check ALL information themselves) if your ability to think independently has not stagnated, you may find that there is little to be really concerned about.
      AND YES, we are entering climactic shift time...check this..WE NEVER LEFT IT!!! why does it stand out now??.....why is the media focussing on it so much more now.....ooo maybe that has something to do with it (why it stands out more). I sooo wonder how some people survived childhood being that gullible...

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts