Full moon and iceberg

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The land of melting glaciers

A stark full moon is seen on July 23 over an iceberg that broke off from a glacier near Ilulissat, Greenland.

Melting glaciers are responsible for a third of rising sea levels, so it's no surprise that Greenland is a prime locale to study the long-term, global ramifications of climate change.

This frigid destination is more than a haven for climate scientists, though. While the majority of Greenland may be a massive polar desert, there are 57,000 people who call the island's coastal fjords home.

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Ottilie Olsen and Adam Olsen on their wedding day

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Newlyweds Adam and Ottilie Olsen pose for a photo on their wedding day, July 20, in Qeqertaq, a 130-person settlement located on an island just off the Nuussuaq Peninsula.

While cities like Miami, New York and other vulnerable spots fret and strategize about rising sea levels, many Greenlanders are determined to adapt to the changing landscape.

"We're used to change," said Greenlander Pilu Neilsen."We learn to adapt to whatever comes. If all the glaciers melt, we'll just get more land."

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Woman on Greenland potato farm

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Arnaq Egede gets some work done at her family's potato farm on July 31 in Qeqertaq. The farm, the largest in Greenland, has seen an extended growing season due to climate change.

Nearly all Greenlanders live along the western and southern coasts, which offer a milder climate. In the capital city of Nuuk, summer temperatures average around 50 degrees, though they have also been known to crack the 70 degree mark.

About 88 percent of the country's population is Greenlandic Inuit (with roots dating back 4,500 years), while the remaining 12 percent are descendents of European settlers.

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The village of Ilulissat

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A full moon rises above the village of Ilulissat on July 24 as large chunks of iceberg float along the water's surface.

This small town of 4,546 people is Greenland's most popular tourist destination thanks to the picturesque Ilulissat Icefjord, a massive, 40-mile glacial inlet that drains 6.5 percent of the island's sheet ice every year.

At the sea mouth of the fjord is the Jakobshavn Glacier, the fastest moving non-Antarctic glacier in the world (19 miles a day!).

Scientists have studied the Ilulissat Icefjord for over 250 years, making it crucial to our understanding of climate change and glaciology.

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Fisherman in Greenland

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Inunnguaq Petersen, a Ilulissat fisherman, hunts for seals on July 22 while waiting for fish to tug at his line near the Jakobshavn Glacier.

Every year, the glacier calves off a whopping 35 million tons of ice and produces about 10 percent of all icebergs in Greenland.

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Glacial ice sheet in Greenland

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A surface meltwater lake is seen along Greenland's glacial ice sheet, which covers 80 percent of the country.

Surface melts like the one above are responsible for increased acceleration of ice flow in Greenland. A recent study found that heat from surface melts transfers to the ice sheet's frigid interior, softening its core "like butter."

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Professor David Noone studies ice layers

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Professor David Noone of the University of Colorado studies ice layers inside a snow pit on July 11 near the Summit Camp, a scientific station maintained by researchers with help from the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Established in 1989, the year-round research station is located smack dab in the middle of Greenland's glacial ice sheet, though the exact location is variable due to the moving ice.

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A happy face is seen near the tents where researchers live at the Summit Station

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A happy face sign is seen as a researcher walks to a group of tents at the Summit Camp.

While the population dwindles to five people during the winter, the station is occupied by up to 55 people during the summer months.

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Sarah Das walks through meltwater lake

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Sarah Das from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution wades through a shallow meltwater lake on July 16 on the Greenland ice sheet.

Das is part of a team of scientists that are using GPS sensors to closely monitor the proliferation of the meltwater lakes and the movement of the ice sheet.

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Peregrine falcon chick

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Kurt Burnham of the High Arctic Institute cradles a peregrine falcon chick in his palms on July 10 in Kangerlussuaq as part of his study into the possible effects of climate change on bird populations.

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Glacier in Greenland

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The beautiful surface ridges of a glacier are seen on July 10 in Kangerlussuaq, a west coast settlement that is home to the country's largest commercial airport.

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Hiking in Kangerlussuaq

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Ellen E. Martin (far left), from the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida, hikes the Kangerlussuaq glacier with her team on July 10 during a scientific mission to analyze how the chemistry of glacial water affects sea water.

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Plastic pink flamingo in the snow

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A plastic pink flamingo (a sign of times to come?) is staked in the sheet ice on July 11 at the Summit Station.

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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.