The incredible photo he took, of the sled dogs ankle deep in a wide expanse of light blue water, quickly went viral, destined to join pictures of starving polar bears, shrunken glaciers, stranded walruses and lakes turned bone dry in the pantheon of evidence of our ongoing climate catastrophe.
As Olsen said on Twitter, communities in Greenland – mainly indigenous – "rely on the sea for transport, hunting and fishing." They will be among the first affected by the melting of the ice sheet, but the repercussions will not be limited to Greenland or even North America.
The effect is also cumulative – the more ice lost early in the summer causes more melting as the weeks go on. This is because white snow and ice reflect sun's rays back into space, reducing the amount of heat absorbed and keeping ice cold. The less ice is there, the less heat is reflected, and the more melting occurs.
"Greenland has been an increasing contributor to global sea level rise over the past two decades," said Mote, "and surface melting and runoff is a large portion of that."
Just as a early melt in Greenland can cause more melting later in the year, the loss of ice can have an amplifying effect on global temperatures because less heat is reflected off the planet. That heat causes sea temperatures to rise, which then causes more ice to melt, causing a cycle that is only broken when the winter arrives and the Arctic begins to freeze again.
But with the winters becoming warmer and warmer as the global climate catastrophe continues, the risk is that one day the cycle will not stop or even slow, and instead of the huskies in Greenland ankle deep in water, it will be people in Manhattan. And that will only be the start of their problems.
CNN's Brandon Miller and Jen Christensen contributed reporting.