Feeds

Greenland melt surprises NASA Earth-watchers

Giant slushy attributed to ‘heat dome’

The next step in data security

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.