In 2012, satellite images showed a stunning rise in surface melting of Greenland ice over a five-day period.
From July 8 to July 12 that year, the area experiencing thawing increased from 40 percent to 97 percent of the ice sheet.
In the map above, light pink indicates that this was detected by one satellite; dark pink signifies that two or more satellites recorded this.
One of the analysts, NASA glaciologist Lora Koenig, pointed out that this type of melting happens once every 150 years, on average.
"With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time," she said. "But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome."
Since then, there have been more troubling indications about the state of the ice in Greenland.
In 2015, the New York Times reported melting ice was forming lakes. These new water bodies fed subsurface rivers, which accelerate the melting of large amounts of ice.
Then in 2016, a paper published in Science Advances relied on GPS data to conclude that far more ice has melted than was previously believed: nearly 2,700 gigatons over a 10-year period, rather than 2,500 gigatons, as had previously been believed.
"Our new deglaciation history and GIA [glacial isostatic adjustment] uplift estimates suggest that studies that use the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellite mission to infer present-day changes in the GrIS [Greenland ice sheet] may have erroneously corrected for GIA and underestimated the mass loss by about 20 gigatons/year," the researchers reported.
Arctic and Antarctic sea ice at record lows in November
Meanwhile, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center has stated that 36 million square kilometres of ice melted this past summer on Greenland.
"While significantly higher than the 1981 to 2010 average, the 2016 melt season was typical for Greenland summers in the past decade," the agency reported.
There has been even more disturbing data concerning the melting of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice this year.
This year, both hit record lows for the month of November, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
"In November 2016, Arctic sea ice extent averaged 9.08 million square kilometers (3.51 million square miles), the lowest November in the satellite record," it revealed. "This is 800,000 square kilometers (309,000 square miles) below November 2006, the previous lowest November, and 1.95 million square kilometers (753,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average for November.
"For the month, ice extent was 3.2 standard deviations below the long-term average, a larger departure than observed in September 2012 when the Arctic summer minimum extent hit a record low," the agency revealed.
Housing markets could suffer
All of this has the founding editor of the respected online publication Climate Progress, Joe Romm, predicting a real-estate crash.
He first raised this issue in 2009. And in a more recent article this month, he forecast that this will happen well before ice melts to the point where it's creating havoc in large cities.
"Instead, coastal property values will crash when a large fraction of the financial community, mortgage bankers and opinion-makers — along with a smaller but substantial fraction of the public — realize that it is too late for us to stop catastrophic sea level rise," Romm wrote. "When sellers outnumber buyers, and banks become reluctant to write 30-year mortgages for doomed property and insurance rates soar, then the coastal property bubble will slow, peak, and crash."
Romm also stated that the election of the climate-change-denying Donald Trump as president is "guaranteeing the worst-case scenarios will play out".
While this is a catastrophe for the planet, it also could create some tremendous real-estate buying opportunities for Trump's business.
In 2007, the real-estate baron told the Globe and Mail that he was "excited" about a housing crash.
“I’ve always made more money in bad markets than in good markets,” the president-elect said at the time.
And if Romm's forecast turns out to be true, we could see one of the worst housing markets in U.S. history under a Trump administration.