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Science & Technology

Greenland ice melt accelerating rapidly

By T.K. Randall
July 25, 2012 · Comment icon 70 comments

Image Credit: Jason Auch
The amount of Greenland's ice sheet that has melted this month has reached unprecedented levels.
NASA scientists have been using satellite images to monitor the situation. While about half of the ice sheet usually melts during an average summer, this year experts were shocked to discover that in less than a week the amount of the ice sheet that had melted went from just 40% to a whopping 97%. One scientist at JPL was so surprised by the results that he had to double checked with them that it wasn't simply a data error.

NASA's Cryosphere program manager Tom Wagner has been studying what these changes could mean and what brought them about. "We have abundant evidence that Greenland is losing ice, probably because of global warming, and it's significantly contributing to sea level rise," he said. On the topic of warmer ocean waters eating away at the ice he added "it seems likely that's correlated with anthropogenic warming."[!gad]NASA scientists have been using satellite images to monitor the situation. While about half of the ice sheet usually melts during an average summer, this year experts were shocked to discover that in less than a week the amount of the ice sheet that had melted went from just 40% to a whopping 97%. One scientist at JPL was so surprised by the results that he had to double checked with them that it wasn't simply a data error.

NASA's Cryosphere program manager Tom Wagner has been studying what these changes could mean and what brought them about. "We have abundant evidence that Greenland is losing ice, probably because of global warming, and it's significantly contributing to sea level rise," he said. On the topic of warmer ocean waters eating away at the ice he added "it seems likely that's correlated with anthropogenic warming."
Unprecedented melting of Greenland's ice sheet this month has stunned NASA scientists and has highlighted broader concerns that the region is losing a remarkable amount of ice overall.


Source: Huffington Post | Comments (70)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #61 Posted by Habitat 12 years ago
There are two distinct groups of people who see meaningful connections, where the majority do not. The unusually perceptive, and on the other hand the deluded and/or paranoid. Be careful you don't fit the profile of the latter too closely, Unit.
Comment icon #62 Posted by Lookitisoneofthosepeople 12 years ago
There are two distinct groups of people who see meaningful connections, where the majority do not. The unusually perceptive, and on the other hand the deluded and/or paranoid. Be careful you don't fit the profile of the latter too closely, Unit. Going to disagree because they are the same type of people, it is the same mechanism within. For some it is expressed as creativity, for others schizotypy, and for others it could express themselves as both. The environment, how others accept us or not, and what materials we ourselves choose to engage in might have a great effect on how it is expressed... [More]
Comment icon #63 Posted by rusting 12 years ago
@#53 Number Fingers: Unprecedented because this is the first time that scientists have measured such an amount of ice being melted. And similar melting events may have taken place every 150 years or so, but no one has measured how much quantity of ice had melted then...so yes..it is unprecedented.
Comment icon #64 Posted by Super-Fly 12 years ago
Meh, if its going to happen its going to happen. To me its about tax etc. But still, Thanks,
Comment icon #65 Posted by Number Fingers 12 years ago
@#53 Number Fingers: Unprecedented because this is the first time that scientists have measured such an amount of ice being melted. And similar melting events may have taken place every 150 years or so, but no one has measured how much quantity of ice had melted then...so yes..it is unprecedented. Unfortunately, this report doesn't mention anything about the true amount of ice which melted, only the size of the total area that did see "some melting". Of course, when the report refers to "some melting," this can mean refer to just the slightest bit of melting, even just for ten minutes that day... [More]
Comment icon #66 Posted by Paracelse 12 years ago
Unfortunately, this report doesn't mention anything about the true amount of ice which melted, only the size of the total area that did see "some melting". Of course, when the report refers to "some melting," this can mean refer to just the slightest bit of melting, even just for ten minutes that day. It'd be nice to get more detailed data for all this. Many of these blogs are trying to trick people into believing that 97% of the entire glacier actually thawed-out. That's the most frustrating and disgusting part of things like this. Nobody can just stop and think for a second. Look at some of ... [More]
Comment icon #67 Posted by Jeremiah65 12 years ago
They are talking about surface ice melt...that...to me...sounds rather vague. How deep is this melt? 6 inches (150 mm +/-)? 3 inches? I do believe things are happening to our planet. I do not believe it is unprecedented. We know for a fact that at one point in ancient hisory, Antarctica was not ice capped. Was that man's fault....erm...no...it wasn't. There has been cycles of extreme heating and cooling over and over again...it is what happens. I do believe we humans are making things worse. We are coughing our more co2 than ever before...and it is a cascading effect. When the permafrost start... [More]
Comment icon #68 Posted by cerberusxp 12 years ago
HHMM just the other day I noticed there is still some snow on a couple of peaks just out side Livingston,Mt.. Normally it would be gone by the middle of June, and they didn't really get that much snow this winter. Has more to do with the way our orbit tilt is right now. Ice core sampling is flawed from the start as in warmer times there will be NO core sample due to melt off during these periods. No ice core record would exist because the snow melted and left NO record. No way to tell how long those warm periods existed. What a scientist says about it. HERE
Comment icon #69 Posted by cerberusxp 12 years ago
Nope. It was named Greenland in an effort to get fellow Scandinavian settlers to move there. Firstly, I didn't say that the earth was heating up. That's irrelevant. I'm saying that our effect on the planet is irreversible, and we will make it drastically less inhabitable if we carry on thinking exponential growth can continue indefinitely (it can't). Simply not wanting to pay tax and saying its some upper class conspiracy is selfish and naive. If we all stopped producing CO2 tomorrow it would take roughly 30,000 years for us to effect the temperature of the earth by 1 degree. Plus adding to my... [More]
Comment icon #70 Posted by Shabd Mystic 12 years ago
Giant Iceberg Breaks Off Greenland Glacier


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