Greenland

It Rained for the First Time at the Summit of Greenland's Ice Sheet

The rare rainfall was only the third time in less than a decade that above-freezing temperatures were recorded at the highest point on the ice sheet

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Rain fell for several hours at the highest point on the Greenland ice sheet last week — the first rainfall event in recorded history at a location that rarely creeps above freezing temperatures.

Scientists confirmed Wednesday that rain was observed Saturday at Summit Station, a research facility that sits atop the Greenland ice sheet and is operated year-round by the National Science Foundation. It was the first report of rain at the normally frigid summit, and it marks only the third time in less than a decade that above-freezing temperatures were recorded at the Arctic research station, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The rare rainfall caused significant melting at the summit and along the ice sheet's southeastern coast over the weekend and occurred just weeks after the region experienced a separate extensive melting event in late July. The recent warm spell adds to concerns that climate change is rapidly melting ice in the Arctic, which accelerates sea-level rise around the world.

Above-freezing temperatures were recorded at Summit Station, which sits at an elevation of 10,551 feet above sea level, beginning Saturday at 5 a.m. local time. The National Snow and Ice Data Center estimated that over the course of three days 7 billion tons of rain fell over the ice sheet.

Read the full story here on NBCNews.com

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