This photo taken on Greenland shows the bitter truth that we all have to face: the ice on Earth is melting, and it’s melting fast. (Greenland is home to the second largest ice sheet on the planet, which makes this photo even sadder.) Climate researcher Steffen M. Olsen wrote on his Twitter account:
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Communities in #Greenland rely on the sea ice for transport, hunting and fishing. Extreme events, here flooding of the ice by abrupt onset of surface melt call for an incresed [sic] predictive capacity in the Arctic…
Mark Kaufman of Mashable tells us the story behind the photo:
Olsen, along with local hunters, had to sled across the flooded ice to retrieve vulnerable weather and ocean monitoring equipment. Their sled dogs splashed through the icy water.
The adventurous sledding took place in the middle of an inlet called Inglefield Bredning, located in northwestern Greenland. Sea ice beneath the pooled water is still some 4 feet (1.2 meters) thick, though Olsen tweeted that his team is dependent upon indigenous knowledge of the dodgy terrain to safely navigate.
Temperatures have spiked in Greenland this week, resulting in melting not just of sea ice, but of ice across the surface of nearly half the giant island. Greenland has had big melting episodes before, but this one certainly falls into the category of extreme.
Knowing this, and knowing that it is nearly impossible to do anything about it, may perhaps be one of the saddest things in life.
(Image Credit: Rasmus Tonboe/ Twitter)