NASA scientists are crisscrossing Greenland on a mission to track melting ice.
Greenland has been melting faster in the last decade and this summer, it has seen two of the biggest melts on record since 2012.
Global warming is the chief culprit, but scientists want to know how this is happening.
Both warmer air and warmer water are eating away at Greenland, causing it to lose billions of tons of ice daily in the summer.
A team of scientists and engineers aboard a research plane this week are dropping probes into the ice to help figure out which is the bigger cause.
If water is playing a bigger role than scientists had thought, that could mean seas will be rising faster than expected.
NASA scientist Ian McCubbin was among those aboard the research plane in Greenland.
He said the Greenland ice sheet was disappearing “right before our very eyes.”
“This is having impact all around planet. We all share one ocean, so a billion tons of ice lost here raises sea level all across the world by a measurable amount. This is happening today and the question is, how fast this is going to happen in the future?”
Other experts agree with McCubbin.
Speaking from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado, Director Mark Serreze said that Greenland was losing mass – thus contributing to a rise in sea levels.
“So what happens now if we’ve got an overall warming trend on Greenland, here comes now a big heat wave, that’s just an exclamation point on what’s been happening as an overall pattern for the past 30 years,” he explained.
He said we need to be watching Greenland closely as the Arctic was “where the action is right now” in climate change.
“We’d long known that this would be the case and that’s exactly what we see. It’s a situation where we hate to say we told you so, but we did.”