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Narwhals Are Helping NASA Understand Melting Ice and Rising Seas

Never send a satellite to do a whale's job.
Aerial view of Narwhals (Monodon monoceros), in ice break

Photographer: Flip Nicklin/Minden Pictures RM via Getty Images


Greenland’s ice cap holds beneath it 10 percent of the earth’s freshwater, enough to raise global sea levels by 20 feet. While there's no doubt it is melting, scientists have little certainty about exactly what's happening inside this 10,000-year-old ice roughly three times the size of Texas. Last winter was the warmest on record in the Arctic, and as Greenland heats up, understanding this glaciate has become essential to navigating our future

That's why scientists need narwhals, whales with 9 foot long unicorn-like tusks, which are some of the only mammals benefiting from all that melting ice.