Rain fell on Greenland’s ice sheet for the first time ever known. Alarms should ring | Kim Heacox | The Guardian
Many people believed he couldn’t do it. Ski across the Greenland ice sheet, a vast, unmapped, high-elevation plateau of ice and snow? Madness.
But Fridtjof Nansen, a young Norwegian, proved them wrong. In 1888, he and his small party went light and fast, unlike two large expeditions a few years before. And unlike the others, Nansen traveled from east to west, giving himself no option of retreat to a safe base. It would be forward or die trying. He did it in seven weeks, man-hauling his supplies and ascending to 8,900ft (2,700 metres) elevation, where summertime temperatures dropped to -45˚C.
That was then. This is now:
Last month, for the first time in recorded history, rain fell on the highest point of the Greenland ice sheet. It hardly made the news. But rain in a place historically defined by bitter cold portends a future that will alter coastlines around the world, and drown entire cities.