2012-07-24. Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt

posted Aug 2, 2012, 12:29 PM by Lisa Ou
 | by Steve Cole, NASA. An article relevant to Climate Change chapter 9. Excerpt: On average in the summer, about half of the surface of Greenland's ice sheet naturally melts...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 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. This extreme melt event coincided with an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome, over Greenland. The ridge was one of a series that has dominated Greenland's weather since the end of May. "Each successive ridge has been stronger than the previous one," said Mote. This latest heat dome started to move over Greenland on July 8, and then parked itself over the ice sheet about three days later. By July 16, it had begun to dissipate....Read more: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jul/HQ_12-249_Greenland_Ice_Sheet_Melt.html