A lot of stories erupted this morning due to NASA satellite analysts' revelation yesterday that they just saw something on Greenland they had never seen before: water everywhere. That is, it's still pretty much white. It is still mostly covered in a glacial mass reaching thousands of feet in thickness. But the sunny part on top was abruptly melting, north to south, east to west. One imagines an unbroken wetness of sheets and rivulets and rivers and probably more noise from the maws of those ice-boring waterfalls called moulins that drain to the bedrock beneath. One supposes it could be an instrument error. But the folks running the multiple satellites at work say they checked. Ergo, the twinned images of ice v. melted-on-top, taken just four days apart earlier this month, are in wide circulation.
It's a peculiar thing and is unavoidable news. It could not last of course. Nobody should think a tipping point or something else drastic-sounding is upon us that is any worse what was already upon us. Even we scaredy-cats about climate change and collective human blindness shouldn't think ok, this is IT. So reporters have to write carefully. But still, but still ... it feels like a sign from mother nature, huh? So, again, it's vital to stick to the facts and the surely temporal nature of the ENTIRETY OF GREENLAND IN SIMULTANEOUS MELT OH GAWD. That's the kind of writing to avoid if you're a news writer. Me, I'm having it both ways. Anyway, it was only 97 % in simultaneous melt. Some of it has already refrozen.
- AP - Seth Borenstein: NASA: Sudden Massive Melt in Greenland ; A vital quote from a NASA man: "You literally had this wave of warm air wash over the Greenland ice sheet and melt it." He verifies that the sheet is refreezing to its recent norms for this time of the year. But for awhile it was T-shirt weather on the ice. Another inside expert says it's a big signal of something and with a meaning that may take years to sort out.
- Washington Post - Juliet Eilperin: Greenland ice sheet had biggest thaw since 1973 this month, scientists say ; Piece is fine. The hed should say since 1973 at least, as it's the first time on the satellite record. The last time Greenland's ice summit, its more or less coldest place, had surface melt was in 1889. Eilperin reaches a researcher who recently forecast just such extensive melt within ten years (her story links to the paper). This is near-instant vindication. Embedded is a video of meltwater hitting a bridge.
- NYTimes - Kelly Slivka: Rare Burst of Melting Seen in Greenland's Ice Sheet ; One thing to keep in mind, and this story tells us to do so. These have occurred before. It is rare, not quite freakish. Ice cores indicate it not only had widespread melting in 1889, but does so at roughly 150-year intervals.
- Wired Science - Rachel J. Rosen: Greenland Hit by Dramatic Ice Thaw ; A shorty.
- LiveScience - Jeanna Bryner: Record Greenland Ice Melt Happened in Days ;
- New Scientist - Jeff Hecht: 97% of Greenland surface ice turns to slush ; As do several reports, Hecht also brings up the big piece that this month broke off the Petermann Glacier in NW Greenland - but he pointedly (via a source's quote) reports there is no link between that iceberg and the recent warm air and the surface melting it caused.
- Climate Central - Andrew Freedman: The Story Behind Record Ice Loss in Greenland ; The episode itself changes little about longer term projections, he reports. That's good, for as he further remarks, the projection already is scary enough. This is a fairly long and discursive visit to Greenland climatology and meteorology, including reference to a bridge washed out by a swollen river in a community not far from the ice sheet edge.
- Bloomberg -James Paton: NASA Says Melting Of Greenland Surface Ice 'Jumped Dramatically" ;
- ... are plenty more.
UPDATE: one more, other to be added as they come in
- E&E ClimateWire via AccuWeather - Lauren Morello: Greenland Ice Sheet Experiences Record Melt ; Extensive detail and inside info, including fresh material on the Greenland bridge washout and the ridges of warm air that loosed the waters upon it.
Grist for the Mill: NASA Statement: Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt ;
Speaking of freaky weather:
- 3-NEWS (New Zealand) - Jane Luscombe: Rain washes seal into Auckland office; A few weeks old. But a nifty hed for a story on a heavy storm. When it drives a seal indoors that is some rain.
And, freaky weather in the sea:
- LiveScience - Wynne Parry: Tiny Sea Creatures Ride Rogue Current to Arctic Waters ; It was just a pulse of warm water carrying a pocket of non-arctic ecoystem across the Arctic Circle north of Norway, it says here. That's an eery parallel, right now, to the pulse of warm air that turned the Greenland's surface into a slushy.
Grist for this mill: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Press Release - Kevin KIrajick: Tropical Plankton Invade Arctic Waters ;
- Charlie Petit