Greenland lost 12.5 billion tons of ice on Aug. 2, marking the largest single-day loss in recorded history.
Helheim, one of Greenland's fastest-retreating glaciers, is among the hardest hit warming temperatures.
Warm Waters Below Helheim Glacier In Greenland
NASA oceanographer Josh Willis and his team have spotted an ice-free "lake" at the very front of Helheim when they flew here to conduct an investigation. This "lake" is something they do not see often.
The scientists launched special probes into the ice floor to gather data that include temperature and salinity. The probes brought back troubling information: the glacier was surrounded by warm water along with its entire depth of over 2,000 feet below the surface.
"It's very rare anywhere on the planet to see 700 meters of no temperature variation, normally we find colder waters in the upper hundred meters or so, but right in front of the glacier it's warm all the way up," said NASA climate scientist Ian Fenty.
"These warm waters now are able to be in direct contact with the ice over its entire face, supercharging the melting."
Helheim has been retreating at an alarming rate and it does not show any sign of slowing this year. Willis said that it has been retreating tens of meters per day.
Melting Glaciers Threaten To Increase Sea Levels
Glaciers like Helheim and even the smaller ones are powerful enough to cause global sea levels to rise by half a millimeter in just one month, and this could have significant global impacts. Helheim has shrunk by about 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles since 2005.
Increase in sea levels largely blamed on climate change threatens to displace populations particularly those living in coastal areas.
In 2017, researchers of a study published in PLOS One warned that the rising sea levels can submerge thousands of historical sites within the century. In the United States, these include the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina.