Historic Greenland Ice Melt Event Follows European Heatwave

The Greenland Ice Sheet experiences surface melting each summer. But in late July 2019, the ice sheet experienced one of the most extensive melt events on record. The event triggered above-freezing temperatures across approximately 60 percent of the ice sheet, including at Summit Station — the highest point in Greenland where surface melting has only been recorded once in the last century, in 2012. This year’s event resulted in significant meltwater runoff into the ocean and altered the ice surface, making it more prone to melting in the future. Melt events on the Greenland Ice Sheet display considerable variability; therefore, predicting these events and the atmospheric conditions which lead to them can be challenging.

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