Greenland ice melt sets a record — and could set the stage for sea level rise

January 21, 2011

camp1Greenland’s ice sheet melted at a record rate in 2010, and this could be a major contributor to sea level rise in coming decades.

The ice in Greenland melted so much last year that it formed rivers and lakes on top of the vast series of glaciers that covers much of the big Arctic island, with waterfalls flowing through cracks and holes toward the bottom of the ice sheet. Take a look at video from Marco Tedesco of City College of New York, who is leading a project to study what factors affect ice sheet melting. The photo at left shows a camp by the side of a stream flowing from a lake — all of it on top of the ice sheet.

“This past melt season was exceptional, with melting in some areas stretching up to 50 days longer than average,” Tedesco said in a statement.  “Melting in 2010 started exceptionally early at the end of April and ended quite late in mid- September.”

Summer 2010 temperatures in Greenland were up to 5.4 degrees F (3 degrees C) above average, and there was reduced snowfall, Tedesco and his co-authors noted in an article in the current edition of Environmental Research Letters. Nuuk, Greenland’s capital, had the warmest spring and summer since records began there in 1873. Average summer temperatures vary widely, but in coastal areas hover around freezing.

This is in tune with studies released in the last week by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the World Meteorological Organization finding 2010 was tied with 2005 and 1998 for the warmest year since modern global temperature record-keeping began in 1880.

With less snow cover, more bare ice was exposed to the sun, and because bare ice is darker than snow, it absorbs more solar radiation. So the more ice is uncovered, the more warming sunlight it absorbs and the more vulnerable it is to melting. Tedesco said other factors being examined include the impacts of lakes on the glacial surface, dust and soot deposited over the ice sheet.

The study was sponsored by World Wildlife Fund, NASA and the National Science Foundation.

“Sea level rise is expected to top 3 feet by 2100, largely due to melting from ice sheets,” World Wildlife Fund climate specialist Martin Sommerkorn said in a statement. An international assessment of Arctic conditions released in October found warmer air, less sea ice and melting glaciers, and said the region around the North Pole is unlikely to return to its formerly colder conditions any time soon.

Photo credit: M. Tedesco (Camp by the side of a supraglacial stream leaving a supraglacial lake, Greenland, 2010)


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Two facts are not mentioned here.

1. Yes, the melt was larger, but not mentioned was additional freezing of ice in Greenland. I have read that the US Military keeps track of the thickness of the ice sheet and their data shows a THICKENING of the ice sheet

2. For the past 10 years, global temperatures have been going DOWN, not increasing. No global warming for 10 years! Global warming has been global cooling for a decade.

Posted by veganla | Report as abusive

veganla, where do you get your ‘facts’?

There is no data out there that proves global climate change isn’t happening, and none that shows the earth is getting colder, only warmer.

Your ‘facts’ are as ridiclous as the USA’s position on climate change that is basicly ‘if it’s bad for business, we don’t want to hear about it’.

You just keep your pretty little head in the sand there buddy!

Posted by Kevin5069 | Report as abusive

Since the IPCC has been discredited by using false data for the so called Global Warming Syndrome, the world news agencies now look to the WMO as a reliable source to prove global warming, see this article for example.

The WMO, a branch of the UN, keeps temperature records from around the world.But what people don’t know is the the WMO closed about one half of there weather reporting stations around the world, and all of these stations were located in cold northern regions. So the data they feed the people and the news agencies is serious flawed and skewed to make it look like the world is growing hotter.

So what is next from the liars at the UN? Maybe their alchemists will tell the world that they have found a way to turn lead into gold.

As for you, Kevin, where do you get your information on temperatures rising? Here are two of many articles that show just the opposite,  /04/nasa_measures_global_temperatu.html atch/bbc_scarewatch_temps_down_temps_up. html

Posted by MandH2002 | Report as abusive

Wither is global warning or climate change does it matter? The facts are something is happen around the world. Can we just focus on the matter right now! If we are going to blame anyone is far too late, the damage is done. The axis shifted twice, pole shifted to Russia’s, the Gulf Stream has change, Arctic Ocean Currents Changed Increasing Climate Change, increasing earthquakes around the world, increasing volcano around the world, Death tolls increasing in Europe of unexpected winter record breaking events that haven’t happen over 15 to 20 years, oil is on the raises and War is on the way, Virus and diseases is making headlines around the world, our sun is increasing with CME and others impulses, asteroids and comet is also making headlines, violence is happen around the world and we still going back and forward on who to blame or who is correct and who is not? REALLY!! And this is the best social networks can offer! Sure is all your opinion and thought but come on now? When we hear the government rambling day and night and the media are we any better? STOP the blame and let’s all work together and make our own government, our own science, Ect. I have giving you the facts, now let’s work together and find the real answer. The world we living are never straight up with any answer but half. We all know in case of the worst we or the government cannot stop all events or save 7 billons of people, but we can have a fighting chance to live, to survives and save our loving ones. We still have 30 to 40 millions of years before there is NO more earth, before that time happens we all are going on a roller coaster ride. The earth is going on changes like no human ever seen before. You tell me or name me one human who has lived either 25,000 years or 100,000 years. The point is change is about to happen and we just have to deal with the new changes when it happen. But at less we can give ourselves a time lap a head start to be prepared was coming. Use the internet for good use and better cause. It’s a helpful tool. In time what we have and what we see might not be there tomorrow, two days, two weeks, two months or a year from now. Let’s gather our information and let’s show the people and the government that we know! Remember no matter who is the president he or she still has to follow the protocol and must NOT alarm the people. But we still have access to the internet. So they’re not all bad! They do want us to know on their term. Is not right but who say we all must follow the rules anyway. Let’s gather what we know once again and let’s make a difference. If you have one or less you will not survive but if you have tens and more then the chances of living went up. Enough with the drama time is wasting.

Posted by kaiba371 | Report as abusive