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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published August 26 2012

Weather Talk: Significant Greenland melting has occurred before in history

Satellite measurements of the summertime melting of Greenland’s ice mass indicate the greatest summer melt since satellite observations began in 1979. This measurement is of the cumulative melt and runoff and does not take into account any early or midsummer melting, which later refreezes.

This is, without question, another sign of warming conditions in the Arctic. Even though satellite measurements of Arctic ice only date back 33 years, it is likely that this melt is among the largest in the past few hundred years.

However, it should be pointed out that significant melts also occurred in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as 1,000 years ago during a time known as the Medieval Warm Period, a time when Vikings were settling and successfully growing crops in present-day Iceland and Greenland.


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