Strongest Melting Since Beginning of Record-Keeping in Greenland?

We recently got a comprehensive update on the Arctic from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and, of course, the message was that the Arctic is warming fast. Another recent study from Denmark shows the same basic thing in Greenland. Here’s coverage of this story from the official website of Denmark reports.

New calculations show that the amount of melting inland ice in Greenland is 25-50% higher in 2010 than normally, reports professional journal Ingeniøren (The Engineer). The Danish research scientist Sebastian Mernild of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US told national daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten that his calculations show that 540 cubic kilometres of inland ice, weighing approx. 500 gigatons, have melted this summer, which is 25-50% more than in a typical year.

Mernild explained that the increased melting is mostly being caused by the rise in summer temperatures in Greenland seen over the last 10-12 years.

A recent study conducted by a US-Dutch research group has however shown that the melting is somewhat lower – “only” around 104 gigatons annually in the period 2002-2008.

Professor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen at the University of Copenhagen expresses slight scepticism, but does not reject Mernild’s calculations: “Although his figures look dramatic, I cannot deny that the melting has been so strong. It has been a very hot summer”.

Sebastian Mernild also told Jyllands-Posten that 52% of the inland ice has been melting this year. In 1972 it was only 17%.

According to Jyllands-Posten, climate researcher Jason E. Box from Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, USA, is also saying that the inland ice melting has been particular strong this year:

“It is my assessment that we have had the strongest melting since they started measuring the temperature in Greenland in 1873,” he said.

Greenland is a canary in the coal mine, and it is showing that trouble is on the way.

For more commentary on the article above, check out: Climate researcher: “It is my assessment that we have had the strongest melting since they started measuring the temperature in Greenland in 1873.”

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Photo Credit: christine zenino (chrissy575) via flickr (CC license)

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