Feeds

Greenland melt surprises NASA Earth-watchers

Giant slushy attributed to ‘heat dome’

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Repeated ridges of warm air passing over Greenland since May have induced what NASA says is the largest surface melt in the mostly-frozen island in the age of satellite observations.

The once-in-150-years surface melt – which will, it’s important to note, still leave most of the huge 3.2 km centre ice sheet in place – took place over just four days beginning July 8. According to NASA’s JPL, “nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland … experienced some degree of melting at its surface” in that short period.

Greenland in July: Dark pink areas show melting confirmed by two or more observations,

while pale pink areas indicate melting observed by one satellite.

The left-hand image is from July 8, the right-hand July 12.

Image: Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory and Nicolo DiGirolamo,

SSAI and Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory

JPL isn’t attributing this event to climate change, but rather to a predictable cycle in Greenland’s weather. "Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time," said Lora Koenig, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

However, she added that repeated similar melts in the near future would be “worrying”.

According to NASA, the first observations – noted in an analysis of data from India’s Oceansat-2 – were so startling that a data error was suspected, but the Indian information was confirmed by MODIS data from NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.

Further confirmation came from the University of Georgia and City University of New York, where Thomas Mote and Marco Tedesco repectively confirmed the Oceansat-2, Terra and Aqua observations with the US Air Force’s Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder satellite.

The analysis showed that by July 8, the melt covered 40 percent of Greenland’s surface ice, rising to 97 percent by July 12. The heat dome fingered as the cause of the melt began arriving on July 8, parked itself for three days, and finally started dissipating by July 16. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.