The extent of surface melt over Greenland?s ice sheet on July 8 and July 12 is seen in this NASA handout image. (Photo : NASA Handout/Reuters)
Satellite images have shown 97 percent of Greenland's ice has melted, after 33 years of monitoring. Greenland is second in having a large volume of ice as landmass, behind Antarctica.
Greenland's ice counted for 683,000 square miles. According to NASA, for several days this month, Greenland's icy surface melted over a larger area compared to any other time since satellites began to monitor the area.
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Satellite images displayed that by July 8, 40 percent of the ice sheet's melted. By July 12, that number spiked to 97 percent.
"The Greenland ice sheet is a vast area with a varied history of change," said NASA's Cryosphere Program Manager Tom Wagner. "This event, combined with other natural but uncommon phenomena, such as the large calving event last week on Petermann Glacier, are part of a complex story. Satellite observations are helping us understand how events like these may relate to one another as well as to the broader climate system."
The melting of Greenland's ice is not a rare occurrence, as half of its ice sheets naturally melt, but most of the melted water quickly freezes in place.
Greenland has been experiencing warmer summer weather, which led to damage at a snow airfield and strong water runoff potentially threatening a bridge (Video Below)
NASA Glaciologist Lora Koening said, "If we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome."
"Arctic sea ice extent this summer is so far tracking at very low, near record levels, and the ice cover is unusually diffuse," said the National Snow and Ice Data Center's Mark Serreze to NBC News.
The discovery was captured by satellites images under Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and Dorothy Hall of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
Researchers have not yet determined whether this extensive melt event will affect the overall volume of ice loss this summer and contribute to sea level rise.