Washington Post cites study in article on Greenland melting

The Washington Post cited a study co-written by a University of Maine researcher in an article about accelerated melting of Greenland. The study found that levels of melting in Greenland have reached unprecedented rates compared to the past 450 years. Sean Birkel, Maine’s state climatologist and a research assistant professor at UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, collaborated on the study, titled “Ice Core Records of West Greenland Melt and Climate Forcing,” which was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The research team took ice core samples from West Greenland, in an area where runoff from summer melting refreezes. The refrozen layers allow for analysis of a timeline of melting and refreezing throughout history, according to the article. The study also found large instances of melting shown in the cores were correlated with warmer ocean temperatures around Greenland, and atmospheric “blocking” events in which high-pressure systems cause warm air to remain over the ice sheet. When these events occurred historically, the melting was not as extreme as in the newly examined cores. The research provides important context for the melting, which has caused the Greenland Ice Sheet to lose mass since the 1990s, the article states. Chicago Tribune also carried the Washington Post report.