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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.



Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, August 1, 2019/Categories: natural history, photography, video, space science, marine life, sustainability, environment, climate change

                Greenland Ice Sheet with Melt Lakes (credit: Operation IceBridge)

                   Greenland Fisherman on Melting Ice Block (credit: Giphy)

Recently, Western Europe experienced its hottest summer on record. It was sweltering in France, Germany, and The Netherlands for days on end. Temperatures have returned closer to normal but Greenland is in the midst of a major heatwave now. Temperatures of 20-30F above normal have been recorded and ice across the massive island is melting.

The National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) gathers and distributes environmental data, performs research, and provide information to educate anyone interested in the Earth's cold regions, the cryosphere. The Center works in partnership with other US agencies such as NASA, NOAA, and the National Weather Service  to translate their raw data into useful presentations. Their latest measurements were just released in graphic form which show the extent of the melting and compares it with the past.


    Average Melting Extent 1981-2010 (blue), 2019 (red)  (credits: NSIDC) Greenland Surface Melting Area, 7-31-2019  

The current melting is unprecedented. As one investigator observed: Greenland is Melting Before Our Eyes while the National Academy of Sciences recently predicted that melting is accelerating. Researcher's with Operation IceBridge offered their perspective: the Greenland ice sheet is the second-largest body of ice in the world, covering roughly 650,000 square miles of the island's surface. If it melted completely, the ice could contribute up to 23 feet of sea level rise to the oceans." A NASA video used much of the new Greenland data to explain.

Summer in the Arctic runs into September. Data gathered this year will provide a more complete picture of the Greenland 'meltdown' and how much water was released into the Atlantic Ocean this year.




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