Greenland Ice Sheet's "Extreme Melt Event" Shatters Temperature Records, Stuns Scientists

Greenland Ice Sheet's "Extreme Melt Event" Shatters Temperature Records, Stuns Scientists
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The Greenland ice sheet covers most of the country: about 656,000 square miles in total. But it's quickly disappearing. In fact, the ice sheet is melting so quickly that, at first, the scientists who measure it assumed their recent data was wrong.

Seasonal melt is normal in Greenland: Parts of the ice sheet melt each spring and then freeze again when the weather gets cold. But lately the melt has been starting earlier and reaching higher levels than normal, Slate reported. This year, when climate scientists at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) began to measure the seasonal melt, the data was unlike anything they had ever seen before.

"We had to check that our models were still working properly," climate scientist Peter Langen told Polar Portal. But they were. 

"Almost 12% of the Greenland ice sheet had more than 1 mm of melt on Monday," Polar Portal reported, "smashing" the past records for ice melt. Slate reports that Greenland has seen a similar melt in the past — but that was in July.

Temperatures were also much higher than normal for April. "Thermometers on and around the ice showed temperatures as high as 64 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday — more than 35 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year," Slate reported.

So what does this mean for Greenland? There's a possibility that the weather will cool again in the coming weeks and some of the melt will refreeze, but climate scientists will be keeping a close eye on what Polar Portal calls an "unseasonal and rather extreme melt event."

Read more: 7 Global Warming Facts That Even Critics Can't Ignore

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Anna Swartz

Anna is a staff writer for Mic covering breaking news. She can be reached at aswartz@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now to testify before Senate committee behind closed doors

Trump Jr. and Manafort have avoided a subpoena and will testify behind closed doors — for now.

Hope Hicks reportedly tried to rein Trump in during explosive ‘Times’ interview. It didn’t work.

The low-profile Trump Whisperer is one of the few in the president's orbit to enjoy job security.

Scaramucci once asked Obama if he’d be softer on Wall Street. It didn’t end well.

The exchange came during a CNBC town hall on the financial crisis, two years into Obama’s presidency.

Trump blasts Hilary Clinton, Comey and ‘Amazon Washington Post’ in tweet storm

He also defended Don Jr. and called Democrats "obstructionists" with "no ideas."

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now to testify before Senate committee behind closed doors

Trump Jr. and Manafort have avoided a subpoena and will testify behind closed doors — for now.

Hope Hicks reportedly tried to rein Trump in during explosive ‘Times’ interview. It didn’t work.

The low-profile Trump Whisperer is one of the few in the president's orbit to enjoy job security.

Scaramucci once asked Obama if he’d be softer on Wall Street. It didn’t end well.

The exchange came during a CNBC town hall on the financial crisis, two years into Obama’s presidency.

Trump blasts Hilary Clinton, Comey and ‘Amazon Washington Post’ in tweet storm

He also defended Don Jr. and called Democrats "obstructionists" with "no ideas."