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See detailAssessing spatiotemporal variability and trends (2000-2013) of modeled and measured Greenland Ice Sheet albedo
Alexander, P.; Tedesco, M.; Fettweis, Xavier ULg et al

in Cryosphere Discussions (The) (2014), 8

Accurate measurements and simulations of Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface albedo are essential, given the crucial role of surface albedo in modulating the amount of absorbed solar radiation and ... [more ▼]

Accurate measurements and simulations of Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface albedo are essential, given the crucial role of surface albedo in modulating the amount of absorbed solar radiation and meltwater production. In this study, we assess the spatio-temporal variability of GrIS albedo (during June, July, and August) for the period 2000–2013. We use two remote sensing products derived from data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), as well as outputs from the Modèle Atmosphérique Régionale (MAR) regional climate model (RCM) and data from in situ automatic weather stations. Our results point to an overall consistency in spatiotemporal variability between remote sensing and RCM albedo, but reveal a difference in mean albedo of up to ~0.08 between the two remote sensing products north of 70° N. At low elevations, albedo values simulated by the RCM are positively biased with respect to remote sensing products and in situ measurements by up to ~0.1 and exhibit low variability compared with observations. We infer that these differences are the result of a positive bias in simulated bare-ice albedo. MODIS albedo, RCM outputs and in situ observations consistently point to a~decrease in albedo of −0.03 to −0.06 per decade over the period 2003–2013 for the GrIS ablation zone (where there is a net loss of mass at the GrIS surface). Nevertheless, satellite products show a~decline in albedo of −0.03 to −0.04 per decade for regions within the accumulation zone (where there is a net gain of mass at the surface) that is not confirmed by either the model or in situ observations. [less ▲]

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See detailGreenland Ice Sheet [in Arctic Report Card 2012]
Box, J.; Cappelen, J.; Chen, C. et al

Report (2013)

- The duration of melting at the surface of the ice sheet in summer 2012 was the longest since satellite observations began in 1979, and a rare, near-ice sheet-wide surface melt event was recorded by ... [more ▼]

- The duration of melting at the surface of the ice sheet in summer 2012 was the longest since satellite observations began in 1979, and a rare, near-ice sheet-wide surface melt event was recorded by satellites for the first time. - The lowest surface albedo observed in 13 years of satellite observations (2000-2012) was a consequence of a persistent and compounding feedback of enhanced surface melting and below normal summer snowfall. - Field measurements along a transect (the K-Transect) on the western slope of the ice sheet revealed record-setting mass losses at high elevations. - A persistent and strong negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index caused southerly air flow into western Greenland, anomalously warm weather and the spatially and temporally extensive melting, low albedo and mass losses observed in summer 2012. [less ▲]

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See detailGreenland ice sheet surface mass balance: evaluating simulations and making projections with regional climate models
Rae, J.; Aðalgeirsdóttir, G.; Edwards, T. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2012), 6

Four high-resolution regional climate models (RCMs) have been set up for the area of Greenland, with the aim of providing future projections of Greenland ice sheet surface mass balance (SMB), and its ... [more ▼]

Four high-resolution regional climate models (RCMs) have been set up for the area of Greenland, with the aim of providing future projections of Greenland ice sheet surface mass balance (SMB), and its contribution to sea level rise, with greater accuracy than is possible from coarser-resolution general circulation models (GCMs). This is the first time an intercomparison has been carried out of RCM results for Greenland climate and SMB. Output from RCM simulations for the recent past with the four RCMs is evaluated against available observations. The evaluation highlights the importance of using a detailed snow physics scheme, especially regarding the representations of albedo and meltwater refreezing. Simulations with three of the RCMs for the 21st century using SRES scenario A1B from two GCMs produce trends of between −5.5 and −1.1 Gt yr−2 in SMB (equivalent to +0.015 and +0.003 mm sea level equivalent yr−2), with trends of smaller magnitude for scenario E1, in which emissions are mitigated. Results from one of the RCMs whose present-day simulation is most realistic indicate that an annual mean near-surface air temperature increase over Greenland of ~ 2°C would be required for the mass loss to increase such that it exceeds accumulation, thereby causing the SMB to become negative, which has been suggested as a threshold beyond which the ice sheet would eventually be eliminated. [less ▲]

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See detailGreenland Ice Sheet - Arctic Report Card: Update for 2011
Box, J.; Cappelen, J.; Chen, C. et al

Report (2011)

A persistent and strong negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index was responsible for southerly air flow along the west of Greenland, which caused anomalously warm weather in winter 2010-11 and ... [more ▼]

A persistent and strong negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index was responsible for southerly air flow along the west of Greenland, which caused anomalously warm weather in winter 2010-11 and summer 2011. The area and duration of melting at the surface of the ice sheet in summer 2011 were the third highest since 1979. The lowest surface albedo observed in 12 years of satellite observations (2000-2011) was a consequence of enhanced surface melting and below normal summer snowfall. The area of marine-terminating glaciers continued to decrease, though at less than half the rate of the previous 10 years. In situ measurements revealed near record-setting mass losses concentrated at higher elevations on the western slope of the ice sheet, and at an isolated glacier in southeastern Greenland. Total ice sheet mass loss in 2011 was 70% larger than the 2003-09 average annual loss rate of -250 Gt y-1. According to satellite gravity data obtained since 2002, ice sheet mass loss is accelerating. [less ▲]

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See detailGreenland [in Arctic Report Card 2010]
Box, J.; Cappelen, J.; Decker, D. et al

Report (2010)

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 detailGreenland [in "State of the Climate in 2008"]
Box, J.; Bai, L.; Benson, R. et al

in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) (2009), 90

An abnormally cold winter across the southern half of Greenland led to substantially higher west coast sea ice thickness and concentration. Even so, record-setting summer temperatures around Greenland ... [more ▼]

An abnormally cold winter across the southern half of Greenland led to substantially higher west coast sea ice thickness and concentration. Even so, record-setting summer temperatures around Greenland, combined with an intense melt season (particularly across the northern ice sheet), led the 2008 Greenland climate to be marked by continued ice sheet mass deficit and floating ice disintegration. [less ▲]

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