NASA scientists expressed surprise and alarm on Tuesday in announcing the discovery of a widespread thaw in Greenland unprecedented in recorded history. An estimated 97 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet has undergone thawing, jumping from 40 percent in only a five-day period in July. Typically, about half of the ice sheet sees melting, but the proportion has doubled this year due to a dome of warm air that moved over Greenland. The ice melt is unmatched in the 30 years that satellites have been monitoring Greenland, and ice core data indicates that such a thaw has not taken place since 1889. "This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to a data error?" Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said in a press release. Scientists expect such events roughly every 150 years. If such melting repeats next summer, scientists say they’ll then be able to link it to global warming.
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.