Greenland sees record-smashing early ice sheet melt

Source: The Guardian

Scientists ‘incredulous’ at abnormally high numbers for April, with melting across nearly 12% of ice sheet, reports Climate Home

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Unusually warm temperatures in Greenland are causing early ice melt. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Polar researchers thought their models were broken when they first saw the results.

Almost 12% of Greenland’s ice sheet was melting on Monday, according to data crunched by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI).

It beat, by almost a month, the previous record for a melt of more than 10%, on 5 May 2010.

“We had to check that our models were still working properly,” Peter Langen, climate scientist at DMI, told blog Polar Portal.

Temperature readings on the ice were in line with the numbers, however, exceeding 10C in some places.

Even a weather station 1,840 metres above sea level recorded a maximum of 3.1C, which data analysts said would be warm for July, let alone April.

Greenland’s usual melt season runs from early June to September. “Too much. Too early,” tweeted the World Meteorological Organisation.

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Left: Maps showing areas where melting has taken place within the last two days. Right: The percentage of the total area of the ice where the melting occurred from 1 January until 11 May (in blue). The dark grey curve represents the 1990-2013 average. Photograph: Polar Portal/Danish Meteorological Institute
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