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See detailEstimation of the Sea Level Rise by 2100 Resulting from Changes in the Surface Mass Balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet
Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Belleflamme, Alexandre ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg et al

in Blanco, Juan; Kheradmand, Houshang (Eds.) Climate Change - Geophysical Foundations and Ecological Effects (2011)

We present here future projections of the Greenland climate performed by the regional climate model MAR coupled with a snow model and forced by two scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions from the global ... [more ▼]

We present here future projections of the Greenland climate performed by the regional climate model MAR coupled with a snow model and forced by two scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions from the global model CanESM2 of the next IPCC assessment report (AR5). Knowing that MAR forced by CanESM2 over the current climate (1970-1999) compares well with the reference MAR simulation performed by using the ERA-40 reanalysis as forcing, this gives us confidence in our future projections. For the RCP4.5 scenario (optimistic) and respectively RCP8.5 scenario (pessimistic), MAR projects a sea level rise in 2100 of 6.5 +/- 1.5 cm and respectively 14+/-2 cm as result of increasing surface melt of the Greenland ice sheet over 2000-2100. It is true that MAR projects a small increase of snowfall in the winter because the atmosphere will be warmer and therefore can contain more water vapor. But this is not sufficient to offset the acceleration of melt, notably for the scenario RCP8.5 which projects an increase of 10 °C in 2100 above the ice sheet. This work fits in the ICE2SEA project (http://www.ice2sea.eu) of the 7th Framework Program (FP7) which aims to improve the projections of the continental ice melting contribution to sea level rise. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalysis of the past (1970-1999) and future (2046-2065 and 2081-2100) evolutions of precipitation and temperature, in the Province of Binh Thuan, South East Vietnam, based on IPCC models
Doutreloup, Sébastien ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg et al

in Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Energy, Environment and Climate Change (2011, August)

Natural resource-dependent societies in developing countries are facing increased pressures linked to global climate change. The Province of Binh Thuan, in South East Vietnam, where rainfall is on average ... [more ▼]

Natural resource-dependent societies in developing countries are facing increased pressures linked to global climate change. The Province of Binh Thuan, in South East Vietnam, where rainfall is on average 500 to 700 mm but can drop as low as 350 mm in some years, knows a recent increase of agricultural activities in order to contribute to reduce poverty although the technical efficiency of Binh Thuan is still very low. Within this framework of higher dependency of the local economy on the agricultural sector, there is growing evidence that changes in climate extremes are increasing exposure of currently vulnerable rural populations. In order to assess the future climate of the province of Binh Thuan, only three models able to simulate the current climate in the study area were used out of the 24 selected by the IPCC: CCCMA-T47, INGV and IPSL. The future climate projections (that is 2046-2065 and 2081-2100 compared to historical data 1970-1999) were focused on two targets: [i] assessing changes in climate statistics, and [ii] analysing the beginning and the end of the rainy season. [i] The first analysis indicates an increase of mean temperature of about 1.6°C (over 2046-2065) and 2.5°C (over 2081-2100) and an increase of extreme temperatures and extreme rainfall events. However, no significant changes about the evolution of the annual amount of precipitation were found. [ii] The second analysis indicates that the dry season is likely to be longer in 2046-2065 owing to a delay in the onset of the rainy season (up to 15 days) accompanied by an earlier end of the rainy season (up to 30 days). Although it must be kept in mind that precipitations are the most difficult climate variable to predict, it is likely that increasing water needs to support expending agriculture within the context of climate change in the Province of Binh Thuan will be a challenge. Indeed, extreme rainfall events are likely to increase and unchanged yearly amounts of precipitation should be concentrated in time. [less ▲]

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See detailGreenland [in "State of the Climate in 2010"]
Box, J. E.; Ahlstrøm, A.; Cappelen, J. et al

in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society [= BAMS] (2011), 92(6), 161-171

Record warm air temperatures were observed over Greenland in 2010. This included the warmest year on record for Greenland's capital, Nuuk, in at least 138 years. The duration of the melt period on ... [more ▼]

Record warm air temperatures were observed over Greenland in 2010. This included the warmest year on record for Greenland's capital, Nuuk, in at least 138 years. The duration of the melt period on Greenland’s inland ice sheet was exceptional, being 1 month longer than the average over the past 30 years, and led to an extended period of amplified summer melt. All of the additional melt water very likely contributing to a faster rate of crevasse widening. Glacier loss along the Greenland margins was also exceptional in 2010, with the largest single glacier area loss (110 square miles, at Petermann glacier) equivalent to an area four times that of Manhattan Island. There is now no doubt that Greenland ice losses have not just increased above past decades, but have accelerated. The implication is that sea level rise projections will again need to be revised upward. [less ▲]

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See detailMelting trends over the Greenland ice sheet (1958–2009) from spaceborne microwave data and regional climate models
Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Tedesco, Marco; van den Broeke, Michiel et al

in The Cryosphere [=TC] (2011), 5

To study near-surface melt changes over the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) since 1979, melt extent estimates from two regional climate models were compared with those obtained from spaceborne microwave ... [more ▼]

To study near-surface melt changes over the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) since 1979, melt extent estimates from two regional climate models were compared with those obtained from spaceborne microwave brightness temperatures using two different remote sensing algorithms. The results from the two models were consistent with those obtained with the remote sensing algorithms at both daily and yearly time scales, encouraging the use of the models for analyzing melting trends before the satellite era (1958–1979), when forcing data is available. Differences between satellite-derived and model-simulated results still occur and are used here to identify (i) biases in the snow models (notably in the albedo parametrization, in the thickness of a snow layer, in the maximum liquid water content within the snowpack and in the snowfall impacting the bare ice appearance in summer) and (ii) limitations in the use of passive microwave data for snowmelt detection at the edge of the ice sheet due to mixed pixel effect (e.g., tundra or rock nearby the ice sheet). The results from models and spaceborne microwave sensors confirm a significant (p-value = 0.01) increase in GrIS surface melting since 1979. The melt extent recorded over the last years (1998, 2003, 2005 and 2007) is unprecedented in the last 50 yr with the cumulated melt area in the 2000's being, on the average, twice that of the 1980's. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluation of the present and future general circulation over western Europe simulated by the IPCC AR5/CMIP5 GCMs with the help of a circulation type classification
Belleflamme, Alexandre ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg

Conference (2011, April 08)

Downscaling methods forced by General Circulation Model (GCM) simulations are not able to correct the biases in the general circulation simulated by the GCMs. Moreover, since the GCMs have a coarse ... [more ▼]

Downscaling methods forced by General Circulation Model (GCM) simulations are not able to correct the biases in the general circulation simulated by the GCMs. Moreover, since the GCMs have a coarse spatial resolution, they have difficulties to simulate reliably ground variables like temperature and precipitation which are affected by topography, land use and local features. So, we can attempt that they simulate better the large-scale atmospheric circulation. That is why it is of special interest to evaluate the GCM simulations of atmospheric circulation for current climate by comparing them with the NCEP-NCAR 1 and the ECMWF reanalysis data over 1961-1990. This analysis is done over western Europe for summer (JJA) and winter (DJF) for the GCMs (available on http://cmippcmdi.llnl.gov/cmip5/) proposed by the IPCC for its upcoming report (AR5). The method used is an automated circulation type classification based on the daily geopotential height at 500 hPa. It is a leader-algorithm correlation based method taking part of the COST733CAT classification catalogue. Unlike the usually used methods based on the monthly mean circulation, this approach allows a precise analysis of each circulation type. So, it gives much more information on the ability of the GCMs to simulate the different circulation types and consequently the climatic variability of a region. In order to allow a direct comparison between the GCM simulations and the reanalysis data, the classification is done first only for the reanalysis dataset over 1961-1990. Then, the main types individualised here are imposed for the classification of the GCM outputs. Since the circulation types are the same, the comparison between the datasets can be made on the basis of the differences of the frequency distribution throughout the classes. Moreover, the mean intraclass repartition of the circulation situations may differ from one dataset to another. So, the study of this mean and its standard deviation gives an idea of the differences between the reanalysis and the GCMs within each class. Firstly, this approach is applied to current climate (1961-1990) for evaluating the ability of the GCMs driven by the historical experiment to simulate the climate of the last decades over western Europe. In fact, if one GCM is not able to reproduce reliably the main characteristics of the current climate, its future projections may be questionable. Then, the best matching GCMs are retained and the same approach is applied to the future simulations driven by RCP concentrations or emissions (2011-2040, 2041-2070 and 2071-2100). So, the evolution of the frequency of the circulation types and maybe the appearance of new types can be analysed under climate change conditions. Moreover, it is interesting to compare the uncertainty of the current climate simulations to the projected changes for future climate. If the uncertainty is of the same order or higher than the projected changes, the reliability of the simulations for future climate may be very questionable. [less ▲]

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See detailExplanation of the extreme low surface mass balance over the Greenland ice sheet in 2010 with the help of a regional climate model and a circulation type classification.
Fettweis, Xavier ULg; van den Broeke, Michiel; van de Berg, Willem Jan et al

Conference (2011, April 06)

The regional climate models MAR and RCMO show that the surface mass balance (SMB) rate of the whole Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is the lowest in 2010 since 50 years. This record is a combination of an ... [more ▼]

The regional climate models MAR and RCMO show that the surface mass balance (SMB) rate of the whole Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is the lowest in 2010 since 50 years. This record is a combination of an abnormal dry year and an exceptional melt in summer confirmed by ground measurements and satellite-derived observations. An automated circulation type classification (CTC) is used for detecting anomalies in the daily atmospheric circulation at 500hPa over the Greenland ice sheet during 2010. The CTC reveals that the low snow accumulation is due to the general circulation (negative NAO index) while the record melt in summer is rather a consequence of the well known surface albedo-temperature feedback induced by - a warmer and thinner than normal snowpack above the bare ice at the end of the spring. - an earlier beginning of the melt season. - a drier summer. - an exceptional persistence of atmospheric circulations inducing warm and dry conditions over the GrIS. All these anomalies induced in summer 2010 an exceptional time exposure of bare ice areas (with a lower albedo than snow) over the GrIS which impacts the surface melt. Sensitivity experiments carried out by the MAR model allow to estimate the importance of each anomaly in the record simulated melt of summer 2010. [less ▲]

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See detailImpact of the spatial resolution on the Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Mass Balance modelling using the regional climate model MAR with the aim to force an ice sheet model.
Franco, Bruno ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg

Poster (2011, April 05)

By using the regional climate model MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional), validated for Greenland at 25km resolution and forced every 6 hours with the ERA-INTERIM reanalysis (Fettweis 2007, Fettweis et al ... [more ▼]

By using the regional climate model MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional), validated for Greenland at 25km resolution and forced every 6 hours with the ERA-INTERIM reanalysis (Fettweis 2007, Fettweis et al. 2010), we have modelled the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) Surface Mass Balance (SMB) at 20, 25, 30, 40 and 50km resolution to assess the impact of the spatial resolution. As part of the ICE2SEA project, the 25km-resolution SMB outputs of the MAR model are used as forcing fields for ice sheet models, in order to produce future projections of the GrIS contribution to sea-level rise over the next 200 years. Although the current spatial resolution of the MAR model (25km) is much higher than the general circulation models (GCM) resolution (150-300km), the ice sheet models often run at a higher resolution (typically 5-10km). Nevertheless, such higher-resolution runs of the MAR model on the same integration domain generate a significant additional computing time and are not doable until now. Moreover, conventional linear interpolations of the SMB outputs onto a higher-resolution grid, generally induce biases because ice sheet masks at different spatial resolutions do not match and the SMB is a very complex function of the spatial resolution and the topography . That is why several enhanced SMB interpolations are tested here in order to reduce biases when interpolating the MAR outputs onto higher resolution, in the framework of the ICE2SEA project. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluation of the present and future general circulation over Greenland simulated by the IPCC AR5/CMIP5 GCMs with the help of a circulation type classification
Belleflamme, Alexandre ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg

Poster (2011, April 05)

Future projections of the Greenland ice sheet melt are based on General Circulation Model (GCM) simulations. In particular, the reliability of downscaling methods forced by these simulations depends on ... [more ▼]

Future projections of the Greenland ice sheet melt are based on General Circulation Model (GCM) simulations. In particular, the reliability of downscaling methods forced by these simulations depends on the quality of the atmospheric circulation simulated by GCMs. Therefore, it is essential to analyse and evaluate the GCMs modelled general circulation for current climate (1961-1990). Atmospheric circulation type classifications offer a very interesting approach for evaluating the GCM-based circulation at a daily time scale compared to the most used methods based only on monthly means. Indeed, the circulation type classification allows a precise and detailed analysis of each circulation type and so, it gives much more information on the ability of GCMs to simulate the different circulation types and consequently the climatic variability of a region. In fact, exceptional circulation events over Greenland, which cannot be taken into account by the monthly mean approach, have much more impact on the melt than the mean atmospheric state. Thus, an automated correlation-based atmospheric circulation type classification (CTC) is used for evaluating the new GCM outputs (available on http://cmip-pcmdi.llnl.gov/cmip5/) computed for the upcoming IPCC report (AR5). The daily geopotential height at 500 hPa simulations of the GCMs for current climate are compared to the NCEP-NCAR 1 and the ECMWF reanalysis data for the summer months (JJA), when melt is the most important. To achieve this, the classification is first done for the reanalysis data over 1961-1990 and afterwards, the types of the reanalysis based CTC are imposed for classifying the GCM datasets over 1961-1990 (from the historical experiment) to allow a direct type per type comparison based on the frequency distribution of each dataset. This approach also gives the opportunity to study the intraclass repartition differences between the reanalysis and the GCMs. After the evaluation of the GCM simulations for current climate, the future projections driven by RCP concentrations or emissions (2011-2040, 2041-2070 and 2071-2100) from the best matching GCMs are analysed in the same way. For current climate, it clearly appears that only a few GCMs are able to reproduce reliably the variability of the atmospheric circulation over Greenland during summer. The differences of frequency between the GCMs and the reanalysis are mainly due to biases of the geopotential height which is systematically over or underestimated by most GCMs and to the underestimation of the variability of the circulation by most GCMs. For future projections, no new circulation types are detected, but rather a general increase of the mean geopotential height regardless of the circulation type. It is also important to note that for many GCMs, the uncertainty of the current climate simulations (given by the differences of the classification results between the GCM simulations for current climate and the reanalysis data for the same time) are of the same order than the projected changes for future climate. Therefore, these projections may be questionable. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluation of the Greenland ice sheet surface mass balance simulated by a regional climate model forced by some selected IPCC AR5/CMIP5 AOGCMs over the current climate.
Fettweis, Xavier ULg; van den Broeke, Michiel; van de Berg, Willem Jan et al

Conference (2011, April 05)

Abstract. As part of the ICE2SEA project, the regional climate model MAR was forced by the general circulation model ECHAM5 for making future projections of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) Surface Mass ... [more ▼]

Abstract. As part of the ICE2SEA project, the regional climate model MAR was forced by the general circulation model ECHAM5 for making future projections of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) Surface Mass Balance (SMB) over 1980-2099 at a resolution of 25km. For the A1B scenario, MAR projects a highly negative (-500 GT/yr) SMB rate at the end of this century and a induced mass loss corresponding to a sea level rise of ~7 cm over 2000-2100. However, the comparison with MAR forced by the ERA-40 reanalysis over 1980-1999 shows that MAR forced by the 20C3M scenario is not able to represent reliably the current SMB due to biases in the general circulation and in the free atmosphere summer temperature modeled by ECHAM5 around the GrIS. These biases induce in MAR an underestimation of the snow accumulation and an overestimation of the surface melt. Therefore, this questions the reliability of these ECHAM5-forced future projections, knowing that i) these biases could be amplified in future and that ii) the MAR outputs are used to force ice sheets models for the ICE2SEA project. That is why, by waiting the outputs from the next generation of GCMs (CMIP5), we investigate the impacts of current climate biases over the future projections and we suggest corrections of ECHAM5 forcing files for having a better agreement with the ERA-40 forced simulation. This is useful for the ice sheet model wanting to use the absolute values of MAR future projections instead of anomalies. [less ▲]

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See detailAssimilation of the 1979-2009 microwave satellite data into the regional climate MAR model for studying the Greenland ice sheet melt extent
Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Tedesco, Marco; van den Broeke, Michiel

Conference (2011, April 05)

The 1979-2009 melt extent derived from the amount of produced meltwater by day simulated by the regional climate model MAR and derived from the spaceborne microwave 19GHz horizontal polarizated (T19H ... [more ▼]

The 1979-2009 melt extent derived from the amount of produced meltwater by day simulated by the regional climate model MAR and derived from the spaceborne microwave 19GHz horizontal polarizated (T19H) brightness temperature compares well over the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS). However, some disagreements still occur in some pixels for any days. Therefore, we run the MAR model in an assimilation mode, constrained by the daily SMMR-SSM/I derived melt extent over 1979-2009. As assimilation, we change the MAR near-surface snowpack temperature for the pixels where MAR and satellite disagree. This correction allows to conserve the water equivalent of the snowpack mass in MAR while having a full agreement between model and satellite derived melt extent. The assimilation helps to improve the meltwater production simulation as well as the matching with other satellite data sets (MODIS, GRACE, ...), with the objective to reduce the uncertainties of the current SMB model-based estimates over the GrIS. [less ▲]

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See detailEvolution of wind behaviour and of its potential for wind power production in Belgium during the last 30 years.
Doutreloup, Sébastien ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Sacré, Bernard ULg et al

Poster (2011, April 04)

The number of wind turbines in the world grows significantly every year due to politics proposing green energy productions as solutions to mitigate climate change effects. However, this kind of energy is ... [more ▼]

The number of wind turbines in the world grows significantly every year due to politics proposing green energy productions as solutions to mitigate climate change effects. However, this kind of energy is dependent on the weather. This implies that the wind production is irregular at a very short time scale. But the short time scale availability of the wind-based energy is important to the producers of energy as well as to the electric grid managers because the wind energy production can rise or fall rapidly which creates some financial and voltage variations. For these reasons, we study the past evolution of the availability of the wind quantity by analysing the intermittence of the wind speed in Belgium during the last 30 years. To reach this goal, we use the regional model WRF (Weather and Research Forecast model) developed by the UCAR community users. The WRF model is forced by the NCEP2 Reanalysis model to obtain a regionalisation of the weather conditions over a domain centred on Belgium at a spatiotemporal resolution of 10 km and 1 min. This resolution allows to capture the minute-based time scale variability of wind speed and consequently the irregular behaviour of the wind power production. To obtain a value of the wind intermittence, we calculate the persistence of a wind blowing continuously with a minimum speed of 1 ms-1, then the persistence of a wind blowing continuously with a minimum speed of 2 ms-1, etc. The persistence of the wind speed and its evolution over 30 years are characterised by : (a) the mean wind speed over a fixed period (monthly, seasonally, … ), (b) the mean duration of a wind speed above x ms-1 over the same fixed period and (c) the evolution of (a) and (b) during the studied period. This study will show the evolution during the last decades of the wind behaviour in Belgium and its potential for electricity production. [less ▲]

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See detailRecord Summer Melt in Greenland in 2010
Tedesco, Marco; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; van den Broeke, Michiel et al

in EOS : Transactions, American Geophysical Union (2011), 92(15), 126

As Arctic temperatures increase, there is growing concern about the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which reached a new record during the summer of 2010. Understanding the changing surface mass ... [more ▼]

As Arctic temperatures increase, there is growing concern about the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which reached a new record during the summer of 2010. Understanding the changing surface mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet requires appreciation of the close links among changes in surface air temperature, surface melting, albedo, and snow accumulation. Increased melting accelerates surface snow grain growth, leading to a decrease in surface albedo, which then fosters further melt. In turn, winter accumulation contributes to determining how much snow is required before a dark (e.g., lower albedo), bare ice surface is exposed in spring (Figure 1). [less ▲]

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See detailSurface Energy Balance
van den Broeke, Michiel; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Molg, Thomas

in Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers (2011)

Definition of surface energy balance over a snowpack

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See detailUnderstanding the climatic signal in the water stable isotope records from the NEEM shallow firn/ice cores in northwest Greenland
Steen-Larsen; Masson-Delmotte; Sjolte et al

in Journal of Geophysical Research. Atmospheres (2011), 116

Samples of precipitation and atmospheric water vapor were collected together with shallow firn/ice cores as part of the new deep drilling project in northwest Greenland: the NEEM project. These samples ... [more ▼]

Samples of precipitation and atmospheric water vapor were collected together with shallow firn/ice cores as part of the new deep drilling project in northwest Greenland: the NEEM project. These samples were analyzed for their isotope composition to understand the processes affecting the climatic signal archived in the water stable isotope records from the NEEM deep ice core. The dominant moisture source for the snow deposited at the NEEM-site may be originating as far south as 35°N from the western part of the Atlantic Ocean. The surface atmospheric water vapor appears in isotopic equilibrium with the snow surface indicating a large water exchange between the atmosphere and snowpack. The interannual variability of NEEM shallow firn/ice cores stable isotope data covering the last ∼40 years shows an unexpectedly weak NAO signal. Regional to global atmospheric models simulate a dominant summer precipitation in the NEEM area, suggesting that the intermittency of modern winter precipitation is responsible for the lack of a strong NAO imprint. The interannual variability of NEEM isotope data however shows a strong correlation with interannual variations of Baffin Bay sea ice cover, a relationship consistent with air mass trajectories. NEEM deep ice core isotopic records may therefore provide detailed information on past Baffin Bay sea ice extent. NEEM stable water isotope content increasing trend points to a local warming trend of ∼3.0°C over the last 40 years. [less ▲]

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See detailThe role of albedo and accumulation in the 2010 melting record in Greenland
Tedesco, Marco; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; van den Broeke, Michiel et al

in Environmental Research Letters (2011), 6(1),

Analyses of remote sensing data, surface observations and output from a regional atmosphere model point to new records in 2010 for surface melt and albedo, runoff, the number of days when bare ice is ... [more ▼]

Analyses of remote sensing data, surface observations and output from a regional atmosphere model point to new records in 2010 for surface melt and albedo, runoff, the number of days when bare ice is exposed and surface mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet, especially over its west and southwest regions. Early melt onset in spring, triggered by above-normal near-surface air temperatures, contributed to accelerated snowpack metamorphism and premature bare ice exposure, rapidly reducing the surface albedo. Warm conditions persisted through summer, with the positive albedo feedback mechanism being a major contributor to large negative surface mass balance anomalies. Summer snowfall was below average. This helped to maintain low albedo through the 2010 melting season, which also lasted longer than usual. [less ▲]

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See detailPresent and future climates of the Greenland ice sheet according to the IPCC AR4 models
Franco, Bruno ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg et al

in Climate Dynamics (2011), 36

The atmosphere–ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) used for the IPCC 4th Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) are evaluated for the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) current climate modelling. The most suited ... [more ▼]

The atmosphere–ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) used for the IPCC 4th Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) are evaluated for the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) current climate modelling. The most suited AOGCMs for Greenland climate simulation are then selected on the basis of comparison between the 1970–1999 outputs of the Climate of the twentieth Century experiment (20C3M) and reanalyses (ECMWF, NCEP/NCAR). This comparison indicates that the representation quality of surface parameters such as temperature and precipitation are highly correlated to the atmospheric circulation (500 hPa geopotential height) and its interannual variability (North Atlantic oscillation). The outputs of the three most suitable AOGCMs for present-day climate simulation are then used to assess the changes estimated by three IPCC greenhouse gas emissions scenarios (SRES) over the GrIS for the 2070–2099 period. Future atmospheric circulation changes are projected to dampen the zonal flow, enhance the meridional fluxes and therefore provide additional heat and moisture to the GrIS, increasing temperature over the whole ice sheet and precipitation over its northeastern area. We also show that the GrIS surface mass balance anomalies from the SRES A1B scenario amount to −300 km3/year with respect to the 1970–1999 period, leading to a global sea-level rise of 5 cm by the end of the 21st century. This work can help to select the boundaries conditions for AOGCMs-based downscaled future projections. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluation over Greenland of WRF with GC-NET observations (1995-2005) by comparison with 2 other RCMs
Sacré, Bernard ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Doutreloup, Sébastien ULg et al

Conference (2011)

In the context of climate change, the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) plays an important role in sea level variation and oceanic thermohaline circulation changes. Unfortunately, Global Climate Models do not ... [more ▼]

In the context of climate change, the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) plays an important role in sea level variation and oceanic thermohaline circulation changes. Unfortunately, Global Climate Models do not illustrate enough the characteristics of Greenland. To solve that, specific RCMs have been developed to take into account the features of polar regions. In this project, we compare three RCMs : the MAR model, the RACMO model and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. WRF is an open source model developed by the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division of NCAR. We use here the standard WRF (version 3.2.1) and its polar optimization (called polar WRF). The MAR version tuned for the GrIS and coupled with a 1D surface scheme called SISVAT (for Soil Ice Snow Vegetation Atmosphere Transfer) is compared here. The version of RACMO is a specific version for the Greenland climate, RACMO2/GR. This model contains a special surface module for snow-ice treatment and other modifications concerning, for example, the surface turbulence heat flux or the surface roughness. The comparison is made on a domain centered on Greenland at a 25-km horizontal resolution over the 1995-2005 period when Automatic Weather Station (AWS) measurements are available from the Greenland Climate NETwork (GC-NET). Statistics (mean, bias, RMSE, correlation coefficient) are calculated for the near-surface temperature, surface pressure, 10m-wind speed and specific humidity for winter (October to April) and summer (May to September). In addition, the modeled snowfall are evaluated with ice core-based snow accumulation climatologies. Comparison shows a significant improvement from RCMs compared to the reanalyses (NCEP2 and ERA-INTERIM) in respect to the AWS measurements. RACMO and MAR seem to compare better with observations than WRF. [less ▲]

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See detailThe 1958–2009 Greenland ice sheet surface melt and the mid-tropospheric atmospheric circulation
Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Mabille, Georges; Erpicum, Michel ULg et al

in Climate Dynamics (2011), 36(1 (2011)), 139-159

In order to assess the impact of the mid-tropospheric circulation over the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) on surface melt, as simulated by the regional climate model MAR, an automatic Circulation type ... [more ▼]

In order to assess the impact of the mid-tropospheric circulation over the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) on surface melt, as simulated by the regional climate model MAR, an automatic Circulation type classification (CTC) based on 500 hPa geopotential height from reanalyses is developed. General circulation correlates significantly with the surface melt anomalies for the summers in the period 1958–2009. The record surface melt events observed during the summers of 2007–2009 are linked to the exceptional persistence of atmospheric circulations favouring warm air advection. The CTC emphasizes that summer 500 hPa circulation patterns have changed since the beginning of the 2000s; this process is partly responsible for the recent warming observed over the GrIS. [less ▲]

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See detailUsing a circulation type classification to analyse the general circulation over Greenland simulated by GCMs
Belleflamme, Alexandre ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg

Conference (2010, November 23)

Future projections of the Greenland ice sheet melt are mainly based on General Circulation Model (GCM) outputs. The atmospheric circulation type classification offers a unique opportunity for validating ... [more ▼]

Future projections of the Greenland ice sheet melt are mainly based on General Circulation Model (GCM) outputs. The atmospheric circulation type classification offers a unique opportunity for validating the GCM-based circulations. Six GCMs used in the last IPCC report are analysed here. A correlation-based classification is constructed for each model using daily geopotential height at 500 hPa over Greenland. It is applied to a dataset combining the GCM-based outputs (20C3M scenario) for the current climate and the NCEP-NCAR 1 reanalysis data over the period 1961-1990 allowing a direct comparison for each circulation type. Most of the analysed models are able to reproduce the main circulation types, but they fail to reproduce their frequencies because they underestimate the climate variability. In addition, some biases in the mean geopotential height remain. However, we use our atmospheric circulation type classification for analysing future projections made by GCMs. As for the 20th century climate, a combined classification is made integrating reanalysis data over 1971-1990, GCM-based outputs over 1971-1990 (using 20C3M scenario) and GCM-based outputs over 2046-2065 and 2081-2100 (using A1B scenario). No new circulation types are individualised knowing that the main changes are just a general increase of the geopotential height. Furthermore, the changes in frequency observed between the 20th century climate and the first future period (2046-2065) are of the same order than the uncertainties of the models for simulating the current climate by comparison with the reanalysis data. Therefore, the circulation type classification is a useful tool to give a precise analysis of the atmospheric circulation simulated by GCMs knowing that most of downscaling techniques are dependent on the general circulation simulated by the GCMs. [less ▲]

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