Greenland experiences melting over 97% of its area in mid-July

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:58 PM GMT on July 25, 2012

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Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, was analyzing radar data from the Indian Space Research Organization's Oceansat-2 satellite last week when he noticed that 97% of Greenland appeared to have undergone surface melting on July 12--an event completely unprecedented in 30 years of satellite measurements. In a July 24 press release from NASA, Nghiem said, "This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to a data error?" Multiple satellite data sets confirmed the remarkable event, though. Melt maps derived from three different satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet's surface had melted, as a strong ridge of high pressure set up over Greenland. By July 12, the melting had expanded to cover 97% of Greenland. As I blogged about last week, temperatures at at the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet, 10,551 feet (3216 meters) above sea level, and 415 miles (670 km) north of the Arctic Circle, had risen above the freezing mark four times in the 12-year span 2000 - 2011. But in mid-July 2012, temperatures eclipsed the freezing mark on five days, including four days in a row from July 11 - 14. Interestingly, ice core records show that in 1889, a similar pronounced melt event occurred at the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and such events occur naturally about every 150 years. "But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome," said Lora Koenig, a NASA/Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data. Such an event could occur as early as this weekend: the latest wunderground forecast for the Greenland Summit calls for above-freezing temperatures to return again by Saturday through Tuesday, with a high of 36°F (2°C) on Tuesday. This would come close to the record warm temperature at Summit of 3.6°C set just two weeks ago. Exceptionally warm temperatures in Greenland this July have been made more likely by the fact that Arctic sea ice area has been at record low levels so far this month. Furthermore, the Greenland Ice Sheet has become darker this July than at any point since satellite measurements began (Figure 2), allowing Greenland to absorb more solar energy and heat up.


Figure 1. Extent of surface melt over Greenland's ice sheet on July 8 (left) and July 12 (right). Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface. In just a few days, the melting had dramatically accelerated and an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had thawed by July 12. Image credit: NASA.



Figure 2. The albedo (reflectivity) of the Greenland Ice Sheet at its highest elevations (2,500 - 3,200 meters, or 8,200 - 10,500 feet) has steadily decreased in recent years as the ice has darkened due to increased melting and dark soot being deposited on the ice from air pollution. This July, the high elevations of Greenland were the darkest on record, which helped contribute to the record warm temperatures observed at the Greenland Summit. Image credit: Dr. Jason Box, Ohio State University.


Video 1. Melt water from the record July temperatures in Greenland fed the raging Watson River, which smashed two bridges connecting the north and south of Kangerlussuaq (Sønder Strømfjord), a small settlement in southwestern Greenland. The flow rate of 3.5 million liters/sec was almost double the previous record flow rate.

Greenland's Petermann Glacier
Greenland's glaciers have seen significant changes in recent years, as they respond to warmer air and water temperatures. Northwest Greenland's Petermann Glacier has seen two massive calving events in the past two years, though it is uncertain if these events were caused by the warming climate. The most recent event came on July 16, 2012, when the glacier calved a 46 square-mile iceberg two times the size of Manhattan. The same glacier calved an iceberg twice as big back on August 4, 2010--the largest iceberg observed in the Arctic since 1962. The freshwater stored in that ice island could have kept the Delaware or Hudson rivers flowing for more than two years, or kept all U.S. public tap water flowing for 120 days. According to a university press release by Andreas Muenchow, associate professor of physical ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, “While the size is not as spectacular as it was in 2010, the fact that it follows so closely to the 2010 event brings the glacier’s terminus to a location where it has not been for at least 150 years. Northwest Greenland and northeast Canada are warming more than five times faster than the rest of the world, but the observed warming is not proof that the diminishing ice shelf is caused by this, because air temperatures have little effect on this glacier; ocean temperatures do, and our ocean temperature time series are only five to eight years long — too short to establish a robust warming signal.”


Figure 3. The massive 46 square-mile iceberg two times the size of Manhattan that calved from Greenland's Petermann Glacier on July 16, 2012, as seen on July 21, 2012, using MODIS satellite imagery. Image credit: NASA.

Related posts
Record warmth at the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet (July 18, 2012)
Unprecedented May heat in Greenland; update on 2011 Greenland ice melt
Greenland update for 2010: record melting and a massive calving event

Jeff Masters

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


so you bash the NHC and mask it by saying you are not?!

lol, it doesnt deserve a 10%, unless you really think 1 in 10 similar waves will be a TD in 48 hrs
No one is masking it...It's my opinion it's just that I'm letting people know that I'm not coming for the NHC in a disrespectful manner.Now..TAKE THAT!.


And by the way Mr. This wave has been persistent for 24 hours..has sustained convection..has a low with it unlike the other waves that have exited thus far this year.So yes..So yes I don't think it deserves a 10% chance for now...
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I would have thought the ave would have been given a near 10% chance by now..This is no NHC bashing guys.


so you bash the NHC and mask it by saying you are not?!

lol, it doesnt deserve a 10%, unless you really think 1 in 10 similar waves will be a TD in 48 hrs
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Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
from Allan Huffman..that trough will be short lived..it will depend on timing..

However, we do see cooler weather for next week, as a trough sets up over the eastern US between a strong heat ridge across the southern Plains and the Bermuda High to our East. This will to increased rain chances by Monday with temperatures falling back to near normal. In fact this will likely be the rule next week with above normal rain chances and temperatures near or slightly below normal with for the RDU area would mean upper 80s to near 90.

Beyond this, the pattern doesn’t look overtly hot, but not cool either. With the heat lurking to the west, it certainly wouldn’t be shocking to see it surge out at some time in early August with another few hot days. As of now I would expect it to average near normal through the first 10 days or so of August.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
I'm still not buying it until I see it happen the Bermuda High has held firm so far this year and has nosed its way over FL. if anything this year will be like '01 or '96 which were east coast storm years. Not saying there won't be a trough, but they have been weaker this year than previous years.
Agreed.Earl comes to mind...
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16968
Quoting StormTracker2K:


With a trough beginning to set up come next week I would expect TS formation of a Cape Verde system to get pulled out to sea. As some have said many times El-nino is building in and the weather patterns are going to start resembling that of El-nino.

el.nino..more.likely.a.shear.fighter.but.wont.dev elop.headed.to.th e.conus
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do you notice, this year most of the thunderstorms have winds in excess of 60 mph?..something is different this year.....................SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
GAC029-051-252100-
/O.NEW.KCHS.SV.W.0161.120725T2006Z-120725T2100Z/

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHARLESTON SC
406 PM EDT WED JUL 25 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHARLESTON HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
EAST CENTRAL BRYAN COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA...
CENTRAL CHATHAM COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA...

* UNTIL 500 PM EDT

* AT 406 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM...NEAR GEORGETOWN...MOVING SOUTH AT 5 MPH.

PREPARE NOW FOR THE FOLLOWING HAZARDS...
DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH...

* SOME LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE...
RICHMOND HILL...GEORGETOWN...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE SHELTER AS THUNDERSTORMS APPROACH.

REPORT HAIL...DOWNED TREES...LIMBS...AND POWER LINES DIRECTLY TO THE
CHARLESTON NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AT 1-888-383-2024...WHEN IT IS
SAFE TO DO SO.

&&

LAT...LON 3189 8115 3191 8132 3204 8129 3203 8115
TIME...MOT...LOC 2006Z 008DEG 6KT 3198 8123
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38423
Quoting Gearsts:
Isn't that pattern the same as last year?
The pattern is not the same as last year since we have already had 2 strikes on the US with Beryl coming in from the east side of FL. due to a blocking ridge and Debby coming up through the GOM. and striking the west coast of FL. due to a short wave that was able to grab it.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting StormTracker2K:


If the GFS pans out with the weaker trough then an Irene track is very possible but if the trough is stronger like the Euro says then this will recurve toward Bermuda. Still lots on the table if this wave does indeed develope. I am amazed at the NHC as no mention of the African wave and 98L wasn't classified as Ernesto.
I would have thought the ave would have been given a near 10% chance by now..This is no NHC bashing guys.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16968
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Hurricane Georges formed when La Nina conditions were present. We're in a warm neutral. Don't expect a track like that.

The majority of the Cape Verde storms we get should head west-northwest and hit the NE Caribbean islands or move north of them and then recurve between NC and Bermuda or hit the SE coastline.
You mean like 2003?

Quoting VR46L:







I am gathering from the lack of response the answer maybe Yes!!!!
IF he did attend, there is a good chance he blogged about it. However, other than google, the simplest way to find out is to just ask the Doc himself. He does have Wundermail...

546. LargoFl 8:06 PM GMT on July 25, 2012

Looks like the WPac is reloaded and ready to go...

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22081
Quoting GTcooliebai:
I'm still not buying it until I see it happen the Bermuda High has held firm so far this year and has nosed its way over FL. if anything this year will be like '01 or '96 which were east coast storm years.


If the GFS pans out with the weaker trough then an Irene track is very possible but if the trough is stronger like the Euro says then this will recurve toward Bermuda. Still lots on the table if this wave does indeed develope. I am amazed at the NHC as no mention of the African wave and 98L wasn't classified as Ernesto.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
...............nice line of storms up in north florida
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38423
Quoting StormTracker2K:


With a trough beginning to set up come next week I would expect TS formation of a Cape Verde system to get pulled out to sea. As some have said many times El-nino is building in and the weather patterns are going to start resembling that of El-nino.

I'm still not buying it until I see it happen the Bermuda High has held firm so far this year and has nosed its way over FL. if anything this year will be like '01 or '96 which were east coast storm years. Not saying there won't be a trough, but they have been weaker this year than previous years.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting Gearsts:
Isn't that pattern the same as last year?


It was but the difference will be as we head into September is the big increase in wind shear across our Basin. Last year we had an East Coast trough as well but wind shear was fairly low across the basin.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
The record drought gripping half the country will help push food prices up by 3 percent to 4 percent next year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.

Milk, eggs, beef, poultry and pork prices will all be affected by the drought, which has pushed up prices for feed. Beef prices are expected to see the biggest jump at 4 percent to 5 percent. Dairy product prices are forecast to climb 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent; poultry and egg prices are projected to rise 3 percent to 4 percent; and pork prices are expected to rise 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent in 2013, the agency said.

"In 2013 as a result of this drought we are looking at above-normal food price inflation. ... Consumers are certainly going to feel it," USDA economist Richard Volpe said.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38423
...................future cast for friday,looks like some bad weather in new england huh with those lows
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38423
Quoting StormTracker2K:


With a trough beginning to set up come next week I would expect TS formation of a Cape Verde system to get pulled out to sea. As some have said many times El-nino is building in and the weather patterns are going to start resembling that of El-nino.

Isn't that pattern the same as last year?
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Starting to notice a spin more central to the convection in the NE Gulf. If you look on the edge of the canopy on close-up vis loops, you will see what I'm referring to...doubt it's anything significant yet.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10244
Quoting BahaHurican:
I see a lot of pple are referring to a Twave off Africa. Has that low we were watching yesterday opened out, or is this a different feature?



Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting Naga5000:


I was just there a few Friday's ago on a day trip. Clearwater beach is a great place.
..best beach around in my opinion
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38423
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
98L better be upgraded in the post-season...

..sure has a nice swirl to it huh
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
98L better be upgraded in the post-season...

Yeah it will be something like unnamed tropical storm.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting BahaHurican:
I see a lot of pple are referring to a Twave off Africa. Has that low we were watching yesterday opened out, or is this a different feature?

No the low is closed my friend and models want to develop it...
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16968
I see a lot of pple are referring to a Twave off Africa. Has that low we were watching yesterday opened out, or is this a different feature?

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22081
98L better be upgraded in the post-season...

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Quoting LargoFl:
..............10 mins from my house


I was just there a few Friday's ago on a day trip. Clearwater beach is a great place.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
GAC029-051-252100-
/O.NEW.KCHS.SV.W.0161.120725T2006Z-120725T2100Z/

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHARLESTON SC
406 PM EDT WED JUL 25 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHARLESTON HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
EAST CENTRAL BRYAN COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA...
CENTRAL CHATHAM COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA...

* UNTIL 500 PM EDT

* AT 406 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM...NEAR GEORGETOWN...MOVING SOUTH AT 5 MPH.

PREPARE NOW FOR THE FOLLOWING HAZARDS...
DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH...

* SOME LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE...
RICHMOND HILL...GEORGETOWN...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE SHELTER AS THUNDERSTORMS APPROACH.

REPORT HAIL...DOWNED TREES...LIMBS...AND POWER LINES DIRECTLY TO THE
CHARLESTON NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AT 1-888-383-2024...WHEN IT IS
SAFE TO DO SO.

&&

LAT...LON 3189 8115 3191 8132 3204 8129 3203 8115
TIME...MOT...LOC 2006Z 008DEG 6KT 3198 8123

$$
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38423
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38423
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Beach is packed largo
..yeah great beach day here today,the showers are gone and the suns full out..whew,what am i doing at this puter lol
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38423
Afternoon all. Just got in. HOpefully I won't have internet problems again today.

Going to read back first, but I gotta say the top of the blog sounds quite civil... everybody on best behaviour?

And I gotta say we definitely have high pressure here today... five minute walk from the building to the car had me sweating.. Thank goodness for A/C!

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22081
SPC expecting a MCS that impacts my area, good thing i just got my spotter info since Ill have to use it.
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Quoting Tribucanes:
I'm ready to be there Largo, just send me a ticket! :) Miss the beach very much, nothing like it.
yes its a beautiful beach alright
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38423
I'm ready to be there Largo, just send me a ticket! :) Miss the beach very much, nothing like it.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
................................North Florida,watch that Line of Storms moving into your area,especially around Jacksonville
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Quoting LargoFl:
..............10 mins from my house


Beach is packed largo
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting MississippiWx:


...Or not.


With a trough beginning to set up come next week I would expect TS formation of a Cape Verde system to get pulled out to sea. As some have said many times El-nino is building in and the weather patterns are going to start resembling that of El-nino.

Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38423
Quoting washingtonian115:
We don't know what the "Exact" pattern is going to be..Remember when hurricane Earl back in 2010 ws forecast to stay over 300 miles off shore of the U.S.But ended up making 80 miles off the N.C coast line..


If any of you bloggers have time, go back and read the NHC discussions with Earl..I mean they thought it would turn before the bahamas..a real hoot back then..
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MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 1587
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0257 PM CDT WED JUL 25 2012

AREAS AFFECTED...MUCH OF CENTRAL AND NRN WI...FAR WRN MI

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH LIKELY

VALID 251957Z - 252200Z

PROBABILITY OF WATCH ISSUANCE...80 PERCENT

SUMMARY...RAPID CONVECTIVE DEVELOPMENT MAY OCCUR IN THE NEXT FEW
HOURS...WITH A DAMAGING WIND THREAT DEVELOPING. THIS THREAT COULD
BECOME ORGANIZED AND MOVE EWD INTO LOWER MI LATER THIS EVENING.

DISCUSSION...SURFACE ANALYSIS SHOWS LOW PRESSURE CENTERED NEAR
LSE...WITH TROUGH EXTENDING NWWD NEAR THE MS RIVER. A COLD FRONT WAS
MOVING SEWD ACROSS THE MSP AREA...EXTENDING SWWD TOWARD FSD.
MEANWHILE...A WARM FRONT CONTINUED TO LIFT NWD ACROSS WI...EXTENDING
FROM NEAR MSP TO GRB AT 20Z.

STRONG HEATING HAS BEEN OCCURRING ALL DAY ACROSS THE WARM
SECTOR...WITH TEMPERATURES OVER 100F INTO SWRN WI. AIRCRAFT
SOUNDINGS NEAR MSP INDICATE CAPPING BUT STRONG TCU DEVELOPMENT NE OF
LSE SUGGEST CIN IS ERODING THERE. THE CORRIDOR FROM CNTRL WI SWWD
ALIGNS WITH THE LOW LEVEL JET AS WELL...WHICH WILL CONTINUE TO PUSH
WARM AIR NEWD OVER THE WARM FRONT WITH PRESSURE FALLS NOTED OVER WI.
TO THE W...THE COLD FRONT WILL ALSO CONTINUE SEWD...WITH PRESSURE
RISES. FORCING OVER THE REGION SHOULD INCREASE AS THE FRONT
PROGRESSES SEWD. THE ATMOSPHERE HAS BECOME VERY UNSTABLE AND STORMS
ARE EXPECTED TO FORM ACROSS CNTRL WI. WLY DEEP LAYER SHEAR OF 40-45
KT ALONG WITH MODEST LOW LEVEL VEERING WINDS MAY SUPPORT SUPERCELLS
INITIALLY...BUT LIKELY TRANSITIONING QUICKLY INTO AN MCS WITH
DAMAGING WINDS LIKELY. ONCE FORMED...THIS SYSTEM WOULD LIKELY
PERSIST FOR SOME TIME INTO LOWER MI LATER THIS EVENING.

..JEWELL/HART.. 07/25/2012
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Deleted
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..............10 mins from my house
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38423
We don't know what the "Exact" pattern is going to be..Remember when hurricane Earl back in 2010 ws forecast to stay over 300 miles off shore of the U.S.But ended up making 80 miles off the N.C coast line..
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16968
Quoting LargoFl:
..lets see how this is tomorrow morning, if its still there then there might be something trying to build, if that HIGH moves out of the way


It will probably still be there tomorrow... tomorrow ill probably come back and check however, at the moment i need to do summer reading:/

everyone have a fantastic afternoon
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188 BobWallace: OK, we're seeing larger volumes of Arctic sea ice melting each year and now we're seeing larger melts of Greenland ice. This means larger amounts of cold water entering the Atlantic ocean current system.
What, if anything, does this mean for tropical weather?
Does it drive the Gulf Stream and other parts of the system faster? Cool them off? Move more heat further north and change large storm behavior? Cool parts of the ocean and create larger temperature differentials between water and air?
Anyone familiar with the physics of what is likely to happen?


Nope, no one is familiar with what is likely to happen. Earlier this year, some Brits made some predictions and ran some modeling based on their best algorithms, and the predictions and modeling runs came up with speed-changes over 4times higher than that measured in the real world, and the changes-predicted-by-modeling in the seawater volume-moved was even farther off.
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Quoting ilovehurricanes13:
maybe its will have the same path like Irene.


...Or not.
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Quoting weatherh98:
Still a climate change blog but it appears we may have some gulf brewing coming on...

It's lower level spin is mediocre at best (displaced from the convection by a lot) and the 500 mb is also less than impressive. Radar shows a spin south of calloway and northwest of tampa. Wind shear is in the 10 knot range and water temps are supportive for development. I'd give this system a 20% of ever developing.

..lets see how this is tomorrow morning, if its still there then there might be something trying to build, if that HIGH moves out of the way
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.