Typically, 50 per cent of the ice sheet covering Greenland melts over summer. Much of that melting ice refreezes by the time winter comes around, while the rest falls into the sea.
This year, however, researchers have been surprised to see that a far larger amount of ice sheet is melting. The images, included below, are coloured red when the ice is melting. As you can see, within a few days, the amount of ice sheet melting jumped drastically — NASA now estimates that 97% of ice on Greenland thawed at some point in July.
The results have shocked NASA scientists. Son Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory first discovered the data, and questioned his findings. “This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to a data error?” he said.
It’s believed a period of warm air over Greenland may have caused the melting.
Couple with the huge piece of ice that broken off from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier earlier this month, this is a somewhat alarming development.
Photo: Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory and Nicolo E. DiGirolamo, SSAI and Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory
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