Melting ice sheet stuns and alarms scientists
Greenland sheet melts the fastest this past month than in its entire history
In a development that has stunned and alarmed scientists the world over, the Greenland ice sheet melted at a faster rate this month than at any other time in recorded history. Captured by cameras mounted on satellites, rapid melting was noted along the entire ice sheet. The photos have deepened fears about the future consequences of climate change.
In a statement posted on NASA's Web site, scientists admitted that they at first thought there had to have been a mistake.
"This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to a data error?" Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said in the release.
Dorothy Hall, who studies the surface temperature of Greenland at NASA's space flight center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said that Greenland experienced unusually high temperatures in mid-July, with widespread melting over the surface of the ice sheet.
Confirming the melt as recorded by the satellites were climatologists Thomas Mote, at the University of Georgia, and Marco Tedesco, of the City University of New York.
"I think it's fair to say that this is unprecedented," Jay Zwally, a glaciologist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center told reporters.
The set of images released by NASA this week show a rapid thaw between 8 July and 12 July. Within that four-day period, measurements from three satellites showed a swift expansion of the area of melting ice, from about 40 percent of the ice sheet surface to 97 percent.
The sudden melt has been attributed to a heat dome, or a burst of unusually warm air which hovered over Greenland from July 8 to 16. Mote noted that Greenland had returned to more typical summer conditions by July 21 or 22 July.
The unprecedented event should be viewed along with other compelling evidence of climate change.
"What we are seeing at the highest elevations may be a sort of sign of what is going on across the ice sheet," he said. "At lower elevations on the ice sheet, we are seeing earlier melting, melting later in the season, and more frequent melting over the last 30 years and that is consistent of what you would expect with a warming climate."
About half of Greenland's surface ice sheet melts during a typical summer, but Zwally said he and other scientists had been recording an acceleration of that melting process over the last few decades.
He said he had never seen such a rapid melt over his three decades of nearly yearly trips to the Greenland ice sheet. Zwally was alarmed to see indications in the images of melting even around the area of Summit Station, which is about two miles above sea level.
It was the second remarkable event in Greenland in a matter of days, after an iceberg the size of Manhattan broke off from the Petermann glacier.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Green News
- Fearsome beast once stalked Europe: New dinosaur identified
- Resident Evil: Extinction. 30,000-year-old giant virus revived from frozen Siberian tundra
- The world's getting hotter - in spite of reductions in global warming
- BAD PARENTING: Ants use their newborns as rafts in flood situations
- Powered by Google. Online monitoring system tracks global deforestation
- TOLD YOU SO: Human behavior now causing greatest mass extinction ever, and it's finally hitting you in the wallet
- Cereal giant Kellogg pledges only to use ethically supplied palm oil
- World's largest solar farm in Mojave Desert frying birds which flies over
- Source of Amazon River may be 57 miles longer than previously believed
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?