Real Science

Unprecedented – yet normal, cyclical and expected

Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington

July 24, 2012

Satellites See UnprecedentedGreenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt

Even the area around Summit Station in central Greenland, which at 2 miles above sea level is near the highest point of the ice sheet, showed signs of melting. Such pronounced melting at Summit and across the ice sheet has not occurred since 1889, according to ice cores analyzed by Kaitlin Keegan at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather station at Summit confirmed air temperatures hovered above or within a degree of freezing for several hours July 11-12.

I look at the Greenland Summit webcam just about every day. There has never been any visible indication of melt this month, and the month has averaged about -10C.

Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once…

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