Although surface melt did not set a new record in 2016, the Greenland Ice Sheet did continue a long-term trend of decreasing mass, according to the latest Arctic Report Card from NOAA and its partners.
A black swan event is a situation so rare that few people would have imagined it was possible. In November 2016, researchers were caught off guard by just such an event: extremely low sea ice extents in both the Arctic and Antarctic.
Based on rainfall changes alone, half of the island groups in a recent study were projected to get drier by the end of the century. When scientists also accounted for more evaporation due to rising temperatures, nearly three-quarters of the islands studied were projected to face freshwater stress.
The melt season was up to 30 to 40 days longer than average in western, northwestern, and northeastern Greenland, but was close to or below average elsewhere on the ice sheet. Melt area was above average on 52 of the 90 days of the melt season.