In mid-July, an astonishing, estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet covering Greenland was melting due to a high temperature dome of warm air. Scientists at NASA noticed this late in July, and were shocked at what they found.
Most of Greenland is a big ice sheet. In the summer, large areas of its surface melt, though much of the water quickly re-freezes. Under more normal conditions, 40 or 50 percent of the area can have melting, but virtually the entire ice sheet melting was unprecedented. The 97% area was so extraordinary that the scientists who first discovered this initially thought that there was a problem with the satellites providing the data, and they didn't release the information until they had checked their findings with two other instruments.
The melting took place exceptionally rapidly, as well. "The melting spread quickly. Melt maps derived from the three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet's surface had melted. By July 12, 97 percent had melted."
Scientists are not yet sure how much of an impact this event will have on sea level rise or how the ice sheet will be affected long term. But it is another unusual event that further shows evidence that the climate is not behaving in the ways it has in the past.
written by Tracy, August 07, 2012
written by kole, August 08, 2012
written by Richard, December 26, 2012
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