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Satellites reveal dramatic summer ice melt in Greenland

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 01:05

July 25 - Satellite observations earlier this month have revealed a dramatic and unprecedented level of ice melt in Greenland. Scientists say an estimated 97 percent of Greenland's ice sheet surface, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges, to its two miles thick centre, thawed at some point in mid-July. They are still examining the data to determine what's behind the event as Ben Gruber reports.

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Satellite data show that in just four days - between July 8 and July 12 - the amount of melted surface ice on Greenland rose from 40 percent of total area to 97 percent. Data from three different satellites confirm the unprecedented melt. Climate scientists say that on average in the summer, about half of Greenland's surface ice sheet melts, with most of it refreezing in colder months. But this year, they say, it melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. NASA says the extreme melt coincides with an unusually strong ridge of warm air over Greenland, one of a series that has dominated Greenland's weather since the end of May. Last week the country's Petermann Glacier broke apart producing an ice island twice the size of Manhattan Scientists are now analysing the data from both events to determine how they might affect sea levels. Ben Gruber, Reuters.

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Satellites reveal dramatic summer ice melt in Greenland

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 01:05