Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A surge in Greenland ice melt

One serious concern with global climate change is the effects of melting ice around the world. With major ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica, melting ice has the potential to cause a rise in sea levels around the world and to cause environmental changes due to an influx of fresh water into the world's oceans. The increase in ice melting is well documented.

Recently, data from three different satellites showed there was a surge in the melting of ice on Greenland. On July 8 about 40% of the ice cap was having surface melt. By July 12 that figure had increased to 97%.

In itself, it is not anything to be concerned with. Even at this increased rate it would take centuries to melt all of the Greenland ice cap. And, we can't even be sure this wasn't a naturally occurring ice melt surge. Ice cores indicate that ice melts like this occur about every 150 years. The last one occurred in 1889, about 123 years ago.

But, if this was a result of global warming then we will see more events like this in future years.  This will be something we will need to monitor on a regular basis to see just what is going on.

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