Thursday, July 19, 2012

Greenland melt expands and accelerates

First results from a new instrument:
Greenland--Greenland's ice sheets are melting extensively, even in some inland areas, according to an image generated from data obtained by a Japanese climate-observation satellite.

Data from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Shizuku satellite shows the ice has been in retreat most noticeably in the southern part of the vast island.

"In the south, ice is melting in many locations, even in inland areas at high altitudes," said Kazuhiro Naoki, who analyzed the satellite data.

In the image, the different hues of blue represent how many days the ice melted. Darker blue indicates where ice melted for longer periods.

The Shizuku satellite, which was carried into space on an H-2A rocket in May, observed the ice sheets between July 3 and 9. The data was analyzed at JAXA's Earth Observation Research Center.
That picture is astounding. Here's a picture of melting days in 1992, and again ten years ago in 2002:

Here's five years ago:


The spread of a lengthening melt across the south is very evident. The solid band of melt anomalies on the western coast is absent in 1992, a broken line in 2002 and 2007, and a solid line now.

Is there any part of Greenland that will be safe from melt in 2050, 2060, 2070? Do the models project extension of melt into the interior of Greenland of the kind we're seeing?

More to come.

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