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Scientists: Greenland ice sheet is melting freakishly earlyBy SETH BORENSTEIN, Apr. 13, 2016 10:30 PM EDT, AP
WASHINGTON (AP) — Greenland's massive ice sheet this week started melting freakishly early because of a weather system that brought unseasonably warm temperatures and rain, scientists say.
While the record early melt is mostly from natural weather on top of overall global warming, scientists say they are concerned about what it will mean when the melt season begins this summer. This early melt, however, could be temporary.
On Monday and Tuesday, about 12 percent of the ice sheet surface area — 656,000 square miles, or 1.7 million square kilometers — showed signs of melting ice, according to Peter Langen, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute.
That smashed the record for early melting by more than three weeks. Such a melt is normal for late May, not mid-April, Langen said.
Normally, no ice should be melting in Greenland at this time of year. Before now, the earliest Greenland had more than 10 percent surface area melting was on May 5, back in 1990. Even in 2012, when 97 percent of Greenland experienced melt, it didn't have such an early and extensive melt.