Danish climatologist captures confronting image of melting sea ice in Greenland

A Danish climatologist captured a "startling" image in Greenland.
A Danish climatologist captured a "startling" image in Greenland. Photo credit: Steffen Olsen / Twitter

A startling photo taken by a Danish climatologist has revealed the reality of Greenland's  rapidly melting sea ice.

Steffen Olsen, from the Centre for Ocean and Ice at the Danish Meteorological Institute captured the image, which shows sled dogs walking through ankle-deep water that lies on top of a melting ice-sheet.

Rasmus Tonboe, Olsen's colleague, tweeted the "symbolic" image on Thursday.

"Steffen Malskaer got the difficult task of retrieving our oceanographic moorings and weather station on sea ice in North West Greenland this year. Rapid melt and sea ice with low permeability and a few cracks leaves the melt water on top," Tonboe captioned the image.

Olsen tweeted the image had captured an "unusual" day and was more "symbolic than scientific to many".

"We have been measuring ice thickness since December, an activity that has been ongoing for a decade," he wrote.

The "powerful image" has gone viral, with Olsen commenting he is "overwhelmed" with the interest.

"People in the north will appreciate it, I am slightly overwhelmed with the interest," the climatologist wrote on Twitter.

Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute, told The Guardian the team has been experiencing warmer weather in Greenland since last week, something that does not typically occur until later in June or early July.

"Last week saw the onset of very warm conditions in Greenland and in fact much of the rest of the Arctic, driven by warmer air moving up from the south," Mottram said.

She said these conditions led to a lot of melting of glaciers, ice sheets and sea ice.

The climate scientist told The Guardian it was too soon to say what role global warming had played.

“It is still a weather-driven extreme event, so it’s hard to pin it down to climate change alone,” she said.

The Guardian reports sea ice melt creates significant problems for communities in Greenland, who rely on it for transport, hunting and fishing.



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