Greenland's ice cap melts six times faster than in the 1980s. This month, 11 billion tons of surface ice was lost in one day, enough to fill more than four million Olympic swimming pools.
Summer came earlier and is expected to last longer. The Greenlanders said they had seen more extreme weather and fishermen catch warmwater fish. They are living with climate change and scientists from all over the world have come to investigate why.
Josh Willis of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is in the fourth year of a five-year research project he has designed. His team drops probes into the ocean to understand how the waters around Greenland are warming up and causing glaciers to melt. On Saturday, Willis' team dropped probes to tell them the salinity and temperature of the water during nearly seven days-hour flight over more than 800 miles.
"We usually think of Greenland's ice cream as a kind of ice cube with a hair dryer on it, but in fact the ice cube sits in a pot of water," Willis told Seth Doane for "CBS This Morning." "And the water is warming too, and together, these two things can cause a sea-level rise that's much faster than originally thought."
Willis called his program "Oceans Melting Greenland". The acronym "O-M-G" was not a mistake. He said humanity should be surprised and take care.
"There is enough ice in Greenland to raise the sea level by 25 feet worldwide," said Willis. "Well, we do not think it's going to happen immediately, but we're trying to find out how fast OMG is doing."
Greenland may feel like a remote place, but what happens there will do it
" We all live with an ocean, "said Willis. "One billion tons of ice lost here in Greenland means higher sea levels in Florida, California, New York and even Australia."
So far, OMG's missions have shown how sensitive glaciers are to the ocean. In addition, they have created a better map of the seabed, with which they can estimate which glaciers are threatened. The answer: more than thought.