So, how is this record different from the one that happened in mid July of 2012 and received so much coverage ?
The extreme melting detected at high elevations in mid July (covering ~ 97 % of the Greenland ice sheet, see image on the left) generated liquid water that refroze after a few days, changing the physical properties of the snowpack but very likely not contributing to the meltwater that run offs from the ice and can potentially contribute to sea level rise. The event was exceptional in the sense that it is a rare event (imagine a postcard of Rio de Janeiro under a thin layer of snow !) but it happened in the past, according to the research of colleagues from the Dartmouth College at Summit. The record set by the overall melting has implications on the meltwater that goes into the ocean and it can impact ice dynamics, through basal lubrication or through its impact on the subglacial and englacial drainage systems. Also, the increased melting at higher elevations might remove the seasonal snow and expose more bare ice. The removal of bare ice (which is darker and the absorb more solar radiation and it is therefore more prone to melting than snow), is actually contributing to the net mass loss of Greenland. Seasonal snow is indeed part of the annual cycle (water from the ocean goes into the atmosphere which turns into cloud and it is released as snow which melts again and goes back to the ocean) where ice has been sitting there for decades or hundreds (and more) of years and it is therefore adding new 'material' to the cycle (e.g., the ocean).