"A new scientific study released Thursday has delivered yet another burst of bad news about Greenland — the vast northern ice sheet that contains 20 feet of potential sea level rise. The ice sheet is “darkening,” or losing its ability to reflect both visible and invisible radiation, as it melts more and more, the research finds. That means it’s absorbing more of the sun’s energy — which then drives further melting.
“I call it melting cannibalism. You have melting feeding on itself,” says Marco Tedesco, the lead author of the study and a researcher with Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. The research was published in The Cryosphere by Tedesco and five other authors from U.S. and Belgian universities.
Scientists have long feared that when it comes to the Greenland ice sheet’s melt, there are a number of so-called “positive feedbacks,” or self-amplifying processes, that could make it worse. For instance, one of the best known of these involves simple elevation, a crucial feature for an ice sheet that is well over a mile high into the atmosphere in places."