The Greenland ice sheet is not only melting from above, but also from below. It has been discovered that this is caused by heat flowing up from Earth’s mantle. It’s variable across Greenland, absent in some places and intense in others. Last summer, NASA satellites revealed that the surface of Greenland’s massive ice sheet had melted over an unusually large area. NASA has been monitoring the Greenland melt for 30 years, July of 2012 was "unprecedented," partly because it was so large and partly because it occurred at the COLDEST part of the country, Summit station. The thawed area went from 40% of the ice sheet to 97% in just four days, starting on July 8th, 2012. So far, the picture in 2013 has been a little more positive. A few southern coastal areas began melting in mid-May, followed by inland higher-elevation ice and all remaining coastal areas about June 3, when warmer conditions arrived. As of August, melt was well below 2012’s extraordinary levels, but still significantly above average.
Greenland’s ice sheet plays a central role in climate, and it is contracting at the rate of about 680,000 cubic miles of ice per year. Its vast white surface also reflects enormous amounts of heat back into space, but as it melts less of that heat is reflected, and the less heat that is reflected, the hotter it gets and the more melt takes place.
Will Greenland’s glaciers slide into the sea anytime soon? If present melt rates continue, there are going to be destabilizations of, in particular, the Jakobshavn Glacier, but numerous glaciers, especially across Western Greenland, are at risk.
The video shows the largest glacier calving event ever filmed, this for the ‘Chasing Ice’ documentary. It occurred on the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland on May 28, 2008, and caused the glacier to retreat a mile in 75 minutes, a record.
You can find stories on the internet claiming that Greenland’s ice cover is not melting. These stories are false.
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