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Perennial ice can be 3 or more meters (10 or more feet) thick. It was replaced by new, seasonal ice only about 0.3 to 2 meters (one to seven feet) thick that is more vulnerable to summer melt.
"For every degree (F) increase in the mean annual temperature near Greenland, the rate of sea level rise increases by about 10 percent," Steffen said. Currently the oceans are rising by a little more than half an inch per decade. In addition, melt water has been shown to directly affect the rate of ice flow off Greenland, penetrating the ice sheet and causing the glaciers to accelerate in speed as they slide over a thin film of melt water.
Preliminary measurements from the Greenland Ice Sheet show the melt extent of 265,000 square miles, a new record, underscoring the unusual warming there and surpassing the maximum melt extent from the past 24 years by more than 9 percent, said CIRES climatologist Konrad Steffen, a professor in geography and in the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado.