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Zoom Greenland Turns to Slush as NASA Watches: Indian Country Today
Greenland nearly melted earlier this month, when over the course of just a few days, 97 percent of the surface area of its entire ice cover defrosted to at least some degree, scientists at NASA have announced.
It was the fastest melt in 30 years of satellite recordkeeping, NASA said in a release. Scientists were astounded when data from three satellites revealed that about 40 percent of the ice sheet’s surface had melted on July 8, growing to 97 percent by the 12th, NASA said.
A melting in itself is not unprecedented, and it’s not necessarily due to climate change, the space agency said. About half of the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet melts every summer, though at higher altitudes it refreezes almost immediately. At the coast, NASA said, some of that melt ends up in the ocean and the rest pools atop the ice.
This particular year, NASA said, “an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome,” planted itself above the island country. However, the rapidity and degree caused consternation, since regardless of the cause, a vanishing Greenland ice sheet could boost sea levels even more than they’re already being upped by climate change. Even Greenland’s highest point—Summit Station, two miles above sea level, atop two miles of ice—showed some degree of melt.
That ridge of warm air had dissipated by July 16—but that’s the day a chunk of the Petermann Glacier fell into the Arctic Ocean.

Greenland Turns to Slush as NASA Watches: Indian Country Today

Greenland nearly melted earlier this month, when over the course of just a few days, 97 percent of the surface area of its entire ice cover defrosted to at least some degree, scientists at NASA have announced.

It was the fastest melt in 30 years of satellite recordkeeping, NASA said in a release. Scientists were astounded when data from three satellites revealed that about 40 percent of the ice sheet’s surface had melted on July 8, growing to 97 percent by the 12th, NASA said.

A melting in itself is not unprecedented, and it’s not necessarily due to climate change, the space agency said. About half of the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet melts every summer, though at higher altitudes it refreezes almost immediately. At the coast, NASA said, some of that melt ends up in the ocean and the rest pools atop the ice.

This particular year, NASA said, “an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome,” planted itself above the island country. However, the rapidity and degree caused consternation, since regardless of the cause, a vanishing Greenland ice sheet could boost sea levels even more than they’re already being upped by climate change. Even Greenland’s highest point—Summit Station, two miles above sea level, atop two miles of ice—showed some degree of melt.

That ridge of warm air had dissipated by July 16—but that’s the day a chunk of the Petermann Glacier fell into the Arctic Ocean.

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