In the 2011 Arctic Report Card, scientists report that the bright white surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet has grown less reflective. The darker surface absorbs more sunlight, accelerating melting.

The low ice extent recorded this September continued the downward trend seen over the last 30 years. Meanwhile, scientists are finding that the ice cover has grown thinner, making it more vulnerable to melting during the summer.

Pietro Ceccato describes the role satellites play in monitoring vegetation health, rainfall, and soil moisture in drought-stricken places in East Africa.
 

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