Melting in Greenland

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Detailed Description

The northern reaches of the Greenland Ice Sheet typically stay below the freezing point year-round. In summer, some melting near the coast is not unusual, but the extent of melting this summer was rare. As previously reported through NASA Earth Observatory, the melt area on the ice sheet this year so far totals almost 1 million square km. Some of that appears as blue ponds in the 2019 image from Landsat 8.

A Landsat 5 image from 1987 shows much less melt water in the same location.

This year’s melting was the result of a short-term temperature anomaly over Greenland. In the Arctic, temperatures are rising twice as fast as the global average, making these northern ice sheets even more vulnerable.