On the blue tears of the Arctic

Melt ponds in Greenland. Photo credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data from the NASA EO-1 team.
Melt ponds in Greenland. Photo credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data from the NASA EO-1 team.

Scattered like saphhire jewels along the glacial coasts, these cobalt-blue melt ponds are beautiful heralds of the melting season in Greenland. What’s to worry about? They’re forming earlier, and faster. 

According to NASA, melt ponds influence just how fast our ice melts. How? Some of the meltwater ultimately drains to the bottom, allowing glaciers to slippy-slide over land into surrounding seas. Their deep blue colour also hides a vicious cycle – this warms up faster in the sun than the bright white ice around it, causing ice to melt even more.

Just how hot does it get in Greenland? You’d be surprised! According to the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (part of the University of Colorado), the temperature in the capital, Nuuk, reached a balmy 24 degrees Celsius in June this year. That’s practically T-shirt and shorts weather!  It’s also the highest recorded for June in Nuuk, ever.

The melt season this year across most of Greenland is moving faster than most years in the past three decades. It’s been particularly slushy in the southwestern area, as shown by these melt ponds captured on satellite, from the great real-time web resource Arctic.io (head on over to check out how the melt ponds look today).

Greenland Melt Ponds. Credit: Arctic.io
Greenland Melt Ponds. Credit: Arctic.io

What does this all mean? Our world is warming, and our icy expanses are weeping.

Video credit: NASA/GSFC/Scientific Visualization Studio, more info here

Author: Little Climate

On climate change, communication, and climate action! Because who says fighting for our #climate can't be fun? Follow us on Facebook to learn more!

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