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Record Melting on the Greenland Ice Sheet this Season

August 16, 2012; 11:10 AM ET

I should call this ice week............

Melting on the Greenland Ice Sheet has already set a new record weeks before the normal end of the melt season, according to Professor Marco Tedesco of the Cryosphere Processes Laboratory, Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at The City College of New York.

The cumulative melting index for the entire ice sheet on August 8th surpassed the record value that was set in 2010 for the entire melt season, which normally ends in early-mid September.

You can view the chart on Professor Tedesco's blog right here.

The melting index was determined through the use of passive microwave satellite measurements. Data goes back to 1979.

Melting at the higher elevations of the Greenland Ice Sheet lasted 50-60 days longer than average so far this season.

Key excerpt from Tedesco's blog........

An important point to mention is that the passive microwave sensors cannot tell us about the amount of surface mass loss from melting. They can only 'see' when and where melting is occurring but they become 'blind' when it comes down to estimating how much water was produced from that melting. This is why we use the 'melting index', in order to have an idea of the 'strength' of the melting season. In general, there is a good correspondence between the melting index and the surface mass loss on a seasonal basis.

This year's final melt index will likely end up well above the old record before it's all said and done.


Greenland Ice Sheet albedo (reflectivity) drops below 2 standard deviations

Analysis by Dr. Jason Box from Byrd Polar Research Center shows that the ice reflectivity on the Greenland Ice Sheet has dropped well below normal.

Images courtesy of the Byrd Polar Research Center.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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