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Monday, December 09, 2002

Researchers studying the Greenland icesheet have found that this year's surface melt is the greatest in recorded history.

This matters because "Polar sea ice has an important function in moderating the global energy balance."

Sea ice reflects 80% of solar radiation. On the other hand, the open expanses of sea left after intense ice melting reflect only 20% of the incoming solar radiation and absorb the remaining 80%.

This increased absorption of energy then forms a positive feedback loop which leads to further ice melting and warming of the sea...