Despite the international press failed in some cases to publish correct headlines the surface melting in Greenland was an exceptional event. Using instruments from different satellites NASA calculated up to 97% of the top millimeters of the complete ice shield showed the signature of water instead of ice.
Usually the ice stays frozen year round and thawing events are clearly visible in ice cores. Examining the last 10,000 years this kind of comprehensive surface melting can be found roughly every 150 years, that makes it a once in lifetime event.
Note this year's melting is nothing special in this context, but it resets the clock. If you read same headlines over and over again in the next years, something really precarious is going on.
The images below are taken in realtime from the Arctic mosaic and show the history of the last 30 days. If latest image appears white or blank this region will be captured later by the satellite. The infrared spectrum is sensible to surface water and the darker the red color the more water is detected. The melting of July 2012 has been archived in this screenshot.-> continue reading