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Unprecedented Greenland Ice Melt Stuns NASA Scientists

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Greenland Ice Melt, Measured By NASA Satellites, Reaches Unprecedented Level in 96 hours!

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Unprecedented melting of Greenland's ice sheet this month has stunned NASA scientists and has highlighted broader concerns that the region is losing a remarkable amount of ice overall.

According to a

NASA press release, about half of Greenland's surface ice sheet naturally melts during an average summer. But the data from three independent satellites this July, analyzed by NASA and university scientists, showed that in less than a week, the amount of thawed ice sheet surface skyrocketed from 40 percent to 97 percent.

In over 30 years of observations, satellites have never measured this amount of melting, which reaches nearly all of Greenland's surface ice cover.

When Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory observed the recent melting phenomenon, he said in the NASA press release, "This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: Was this real or was it due to a data error?"

Scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, University of Georgia-Athens and City University of New York all confirmed the remarkable ice melt.

NASA's cryosphere program manager, Tom Wagner, credited the power of satellites for observing the melt and explained to The Huffington Post that, although this specific event may be part of a natural variation, "We have abundant evidence that Greenland is losing ice, probably because of global warming, and it's significantly contributing to sea level rise."

Wagner said that ice is clearly thinning around the periphery, changing Greenland's overall ice mass, and he believes this is primarily due to warming ocean waters "eating away at the ice." He cautiously added, "It seems likely that's correlated with anthropogenic warming."

This specific extreme melt occurred in large part due to an unusual weather pattern over Greenland this year, what the NASA press release describes as a series of "heat domes," or an "unusually strong ridge of warm air."

Notable melting occurred in specific regions of Greenland, such as the area around

Summit Station, located two miles above sea level. Not since 1889 has this kind of melting occurred, according to ice core analysis described in NASA's press release.

Goddard glaciologist Lora Koenig said that similar melting events occur about every 150 years, and this event is consistent with that schedule, citing the previous 1889 melt. But, she added, "if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome."

"One of the big questions is 'What's happening in the Arctic in general?'" Wagner said to HuffPost.

Just last week, another unusual event occurred in the region: the calving of an iceberg

twice the size of Manhattan from Greenland's Petermann Glacier.

Over the past few months, separate studies have emerged that suggest humans are playing a

"dominant role" in ocean warming, and that specific regions of the world, such as the U.S. East Coast, are increasingly vulnerable to sea level rise.

Wagner explained that in recent years, studies have observed thinning sea ice and "dramatic" overall changes. He was clear, "We don’t want to lose sight of the fact that Greenland is losing a tremendous amount of ice overall."

http://www.nasa.gov/...nland-melt.html

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Is it melting or is that the potential for it to melt?

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^^ If you actually read the article it states it already HAS melted and IS melting.

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^^ If you actually read the article it states it already HAS melted and IS melting.

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^^ If you actually read the article it states it already HAS melted and IS melting.

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Easily one of the dumbest things i've ever read on CDC.....easily.

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I'll second that, Sharp. And incidentally...just how much brain power does it take to read an article that says in the opening line "unprecedented melting" etc..and then to ask...duhhhh is it melting or is that the potential to melt? :picard:

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Come on, this forum has more than its fair share of blinding stupidity, but you guys are getting mad at a 13 year old.

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Come on, this forum has more than its fair share of blinding stupidity, but you guys are getting mad at a 13 year old.

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Easily one of the dumbest things i've ever read on CDC.....easily.

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Antarctic ice melting from warm water below

AP | 26th April, 2012

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A man stands near drilling apparatus at the Vostock research camp in Antarctica. — Photo by Reuters

WASHINGTON: Antarctica’s massive ice shelves are shrinking because they are being eaten away from below by warm water, a new study finds.

That suggests that future sea levels could rise faster than many scientists have been predicting.

The western chunk of Antarctica is losing 23 feet of its floating ice sheet each year. Until now, scientists were not exactly sure how it was happening and whether or how man-made global warming might be a factor.

The answer, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, is that climate change plays an indirect role but one that has larger repercussions than if Antarctic ice merely were melting from warmer air.

Hamish Pritchard, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey, said research using an ice-gazing Nasa satellite showed that warmer air alone could not explain what was happening to Antarctica.

A more detailed examination found a chain of events that explained the shrinking ice shelves.

Twenty ice shelves showed signs that they were melting from warm water below.

Changes in wind currents pushed that relatively warmer water closer to and beneath the floating ice shelves. The wind change probably is caused by a combination of factors, including natural weather variation, the ozone hole and man-made greenhouse gases, Pritchard said in a phone interview.

As the floating ice shelves melt and thin, that in turn triggers snow and ice on land glaciers to slide down to the floating shelves and eventually into the sea, causing sea level rise, Pritchard said. Thicker floating ice shelves usually keep much of the land snow and ice from shedding to sea, but that is not happening now.

That whole process causes larger and faster sea level rise than simply warmer air melting snow on land-locked glaciers, Pritchard said.

”It means the ice sheets are highly sensitive to relatively subtle changes in climate through the effects of the wind,” he said.

What’s happening in Antarctica ”may have already triggered a period of unstable glacier retreat,” the study concludes.

If the entire Western Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt, which would take many decades if not centuries, scientists have estimated it would lift global sea levels by about 16 feet.

Nasa chief scientist Waleed Abdalati, an expert in Earth’s ice systems who was not involved in the research, said Pritchard’s study ”makes an important advance” and provides crucial information about how Antarctica will contribute to global sea level rise.

Another outside expert, Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said the paper will change the way scientists think about melt in Antarctica. Seeing more warm water encircling the continent, he worries that with ”a further push from the wind” newer areas could start shrinking

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Maybe you should familiarize yourself with the term Precession, and more specifically axial precession, and even MORE specifically, EARTH'S axial precession. Earth goes through one of these every 26,000 years. So unless you were making a tongue in cheek prediction of another Ice Age, your statement is entirely without merit.

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Jumped to conclusion way to fast.

Never said anything about an Ice Age, I just said "we'll be fine".

Also in reply too the article on Antarctica above^

I know this is 2 years old but I remember at a point where Antarctica wasn't melting as fast as the Arctic or in fact melting at all.

http://www.newscient...-much--yet.html

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Jumped to conclusion way to fast.

Never said anything about an Ice Age, I just said "we'll be fine".

Also in reply too the article on Antarctica above^

I know this is 2 years old but I remember at a point where Antarctica wasn't melting as fast as the Arctic or in fact melting at all.

http://www.newscient...-much--yet.html

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