The summer of 2012 brought Greenland far more extensive melt than anything observed in the satellite record: in July 2012, surface melt extended over nearly the entire ice sheet. The standardized melt index was nearly double the previous record.

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.