Image of the Week - Melting in Greenland

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Detailed Description

In July, satellite imagery from Landsat 8 captured a major melting event in Greenland. 


Date Taken:

Length: 00:01:07

Location Taken: GL

Video Credits

Thomas Adamson - Writer/Voiceover


In a recent Image of the Week video we watched as a glacier disappeared in Iceland. Rapid change is occuring across the Arctic. In July, satellite imagery captured a major melting event in Greenland. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center the daily surface melt extent on the ice sheet on July 30th was almost a million square kilometers. Some of that appears as blue ponds in this image from Landsat 8.

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 observed this summer was rare.

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.