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Greenland Ice Melting at Record Rate, Alarming Photos Show Massive Ice Melt

World | Associated Press | August 28, 2019, 11:36 am
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 This is where Earth's refrigerator door is left open, where glaciers dwindle and seas begin to rise. New York University air and ocean scientist David Holland, who is tracking what's happening in Greenland from both above and below, calls it

This is where Earth's refrigerator door is left open, where glaciers dwindle and seas begin to rise. New York University air and ocean scientist David Holland, who is tracking what's happening in Greenland from both above and below, calls it "the end of the planet." He is referring to geography more than the future. Yet in many ways, this place is where the planet's warmer and watery future is being written. It is so warm here, just inside the Arctic Circle, that on an August day, coats are left on the ground and Holland and colleagues work on the watery melting ice without gloves. In one of the closest towns, Kulusuk, the morning temperature reached a shirtsleeve 52 degrees Fahrenheit (10.7 degrees Celsius). Summer this year is hitting Greenland hard with record-shattering heat and extreme melt. By the end of the summer, about 440 billion tons (400 billion metric tons) of ice — maybe more — will have melted or calved off Greenland's giant ice sheet, scientists estimate. That's enough water to flood Pennsylvania or the country of Greece about a foot (35 centimetres) deep. In just the five days from July 31 to Aug. 3, more than 58 billion tons (53 billion metric tons) melted from the surface. That's over 40 billion tons more than the average for this time of year. And one of the places hit hardest this hot Greenland summer is here on the southeastern edge of the giant frozen island: Helheim, one of Greenland's fastest-retreating glaciers, has shrunk about 6 miles (10 kilometres) since scientists came here in 2005. An aerial view of large Icebergs floating as the sun rises near Kulusuk, Greenland. Greenland has been melting faster in the last decade and this summer, it has seen two of the biggest melts on record since 2012. (Image: AP)

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 A boat navigates at night between icebergs in eastern Greenland. Greenland has been melting faster in the last decade and this summer, it has seen two of the biggest melts on record since 2012. (Image: AP)

A boat navigates at night between icebergs in eastern Greenland. Greenland has been melting faster in the last decade and this summer, it has seen two of the biggest melts on record since 2012. (Image: AP)

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 Large Icebergs float away as the sun rises near Kulusuk, Greenland. (Image: AP)

Large Icebergs float away as the sun rises near Kulusuk, Greenland. (Image: AP)

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 New York University air and ocean scientist David Holland, left, and field safety officer Brian Rougeux is helped by pilot Martin Norregaard as they carry antennas out of a helicopter to be installed at the Helheim glacier, in Greenland. (Image: AP)

New York University air and ocean scientist David Holland, left, and field safety officer Brian Rougeux is helped by pilot Martin Norregaard as they carry antennas out of a helicopter to be installed at the Helheim glacier, in Greenland. (Image: AP)

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 A large Iceberg floats away as the sun sets near Kulusuk, Greenland. Greenland is where Earth's refrigerator door is left open, where glaciers dwindle and seas begin to rise. Scientists are hard at work there, trying to understand the alarmingly rapid melting of the ice. Greenland is where the planet's future is being written. (Image: AP)

A large Iceberg floats away as the sun sets near Kulusuk, Greenland. Greenland is where Earth's refrigerator door is left open, where glaciers dwindle and seas begin to rise. Scientists are hard at work there, trying to understand the alarmingly rapid melting of the ice. Greenland is where the planet's future is being written. (Image: AP)

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 A helicopter flies over hundreds of icebergs floating near the Helheim glacier, in Greenland. (Image: AP)

A helicopter flies over hundreds of icebergs floating near the Helheim glacier, in Greenland. (Image: AP)

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 Boys carry plastic bags full of fish in Kulusuk, Greenland. According to local resident Mugu Utuaq, the winter that used to last as long as 10 months when he was a boy can now be as short as five months. Scientists are hard at work in Greenland, trying to understand the alarmingly rapid melting of the ice. (Image: AP)

Boys carry plastic bags full of fish in Kulusuk, Greenland. According to local resident Mugu Utuaq, the winter that used to last as long as 10 months when he was a boy can now be as short as five months. Scientists are hard at work in Greenland, trying to understand the alarmingly rapid melting of the ice. (Image: AP)

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 A boat navigates at night next to large icebergs near the town of Kulusuk, in eastern Greenland. (Image: AP)

A boat navigates at night next to large icebergs near the town of Kulusuk, in eastern Greenland. (Image: AP)

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 NYU student researchers sit on top of a rock overlooking the Helheim glacier in Greenland. (Image: AP)

NYU student researchers sit on top of a rock overlooking the Helheim glacier in Greenland. (Image: AP)

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 A boat navigates at night next to a large iceberg in eastern Greenland. (Image: AP)

A boat navigates at night next to a large iceberg in eastern Greenland. (Image: AP)

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 A helicopter carrying New York University air and ocean scientist David Holland and his team sit on the ice as they install radar and GPS at the Helheim glacier, in Greenland. Scientists are hard at work there, trying to understand the alarmingly rapid melting of the ice. (Image: AP)

A helicopter carrying New York University air and ocean scientist David Holland and his team sit on the ice as they install radar and GPS at the Helheim glacier, in Greenland. Scientists are hard at work there, trying to understand the alarmingly rapid melting of the ice. (Image: AP)

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 A boat navigates at night next to large icebergs in eastern Greenland. Greenland's ice has been melting for more than 20 years. (Image: AP)

A boat navigates at night next to large icebergs in eastern Greenland. Greenland's ice has been melting for more than 20 years. (Image: AP)

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 Brian Rougeux, NYU Field Safety Officer, installs a GPS antenna at the Helheim glacier, in Greenland. (Image: AP)

Brian Rougeux, NYU Field Safety Officer, installs a GPS antenna at the Helheim glacier, in Greenland. (Image: AP)

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 Early morning fog shrouds homes in Kulusuk, Greenland. (Image: AP)

Early morning fog shrouds homes in Kulusuk, Greenland. (Image: AP)

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 Brian Rougeux, NYU Field Safety Officer, walks after installing a flag to help identify a GPS position at the Helheim glacier, in Greenland. (Image: AP)

Brian Rougeux, NYU Field Safety Officer, walks after installing a flag to help identify a GPS position at the Helheim glacier, in Greenland. (Image: AP)

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 A boat navigates at night next to a large iceberg in eastern Greenland. Summer 2019 is hitting Greenland hard with record-shattering heat and extreme melt. By the end of the summer, about 440 billion tons (400 billion metric tons) of ice, maybe more, will have melted or calved off Greenland's giant ice sheet, scientists estimate. (Image: AP)

A boat navigates at night next to a large iceberg in eastern Greenland. Summer 2019 is hitting Greenland hard with record-shattering heat and extreme melt. By the end of the summer, about 440 billion tons (400 billion metric tons) of ice, maybe more, will have melted or calved off Greenland's giant ice sheet, scientists estimate. (Image: AP)

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 A woman stands next to an antenna at an NYU base camp at the Helheim glacier in Greenland. (Image: AP)

A woman stands next to an antenna at an NYU base camp at the Helheim glacier in Greenland. (Image: AP)

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 A boat navigates next to a large iceberg in eastern Greenland. (Image: AP)

A boat navigates next to a large iceberg in eastern Greenland. (Image: AP)

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 Mugu Utuaq reloads his rifle as he rides with other boats hunting whales near Kulusuk, Greenland. (Image: AP)

Mugu Utuaq reloads his rifle as he rides with other boats hunting whales near Kulusuk, Greenland. (Image: AP)

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 Crosses stand in a cemetery as an iceberg floats in the distance during a foggy morning in Kulusuk, Greenland. (Image: AP)

Crosses stand in a cemetery as an iceberg floats in the distance during a foggy morning in Kulusuk, Greenland. (Image: AP)

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