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Low, thin clouds triggered record melting of Greenland

April 03, 2013

Low, thin clouds triggered record melting of Greenland

Clouds may change our understanding of global warming.

A new study finds the largest ice melt in Greenland – a country covered by a large ice sheet – that took place in summer 2012 may have been due to low, thin clouds.

The ice melt, which has captured the attention of climate scientists since 1979, is so extreme that records suggest melt rate is nearly unprecedented. Scientists say the current melt rate is unmatched over the course of the past 100 years, and that melt rates on this scale only occur once every 150 years. Furthermore, researchers estimate that if the melting continues at this rate and the entire ice sheet dissolves, it would destroy 720,000 cubic miles of ice, in turn elevating global sea levels by 24 feet.

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