Scientists note biggest Greenland ice melt in 30 years

Scientists have noticed the biggest amount of ice melting in Greenland for the last 30 years. NASA scientists say the melting over the surface ice cover of the country in […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Scientists have noticed the biggest amount of ice melting in Greenland for the last 30 years. NASA scientists say the melting over the surface ice cover of the country in the Arctic Circle “jumped dramatically”, with melting over a larger area than seen in more than three decades of satellite observations.

Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analysed by NASA and university scientists.

On average in the summer, about half of the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet naturally melts. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically.

Although scientists suggest this sort of melting occurs about once every 150 years on average, based on previous analysis of ice cores from the Arctic, seeing it again soon could be a concern.

Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data said: “With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time. But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.”

The findings could be fuel to the flame of environmentalists who are concerned global warming will escalate if the world doesn’t prevent temperatures from rising by 2 decrees celsius, the goal set by world leaders in Copenhagen in 2009.