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NASA sees strange massive melt of Greenland’s ice sheet

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    These undated handout images provided by NASA shows the extent of surface melt over Greenland?s ice sheet on July 8, left, and July 12, right. Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface. In just a few days, the melting had dramatically accelerated and an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had thawed by July 12. In the image, the areas classified as ?probable melt? (light pink) correspond to those sites where at least one satellite detected surface melting. The areas classified as ?melt? (dark pink) correspond to sites where two or three satellites detected surface melting. Nearly every part of the massive Greenland ice sheet suddenly and strangely melted a bit this month in a freak event that concerned scientists had never witnessed before. NASA says three different satellites saw what it calls unprecedented melting from July 8 to July 12. Most of the thick ice remains, but what was unusual was the widespread area where some melting occurred. (AP Photo/Nicolo E. DiGirolamo, SSAI/NASA GSFC, and Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory
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WASHINGTON  >> Scientists say there’s been a freak event in Greenland this month: Nearly every part of the massive ice sheet that blankets the island suddenly started melting.

Even Greenland’s coldest place showed melting. Records show that last happened in 1889 and occurs about once every 150 years.

NASA said three satellites saw what it calls unprecedented melting over four days beginning July 8. Most of the thick ice remains. But what was unusual was that the melting occurred over a widespread area.

NASA said the melting area went from 40 percent of the ice sheet to 97 percent. Until now, the most extensive melt seen by satellites in the past 30 years was about 55 percent.

Scientists can’t say yet if the melting is from global warming or natural.

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