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See detailRecent changes in north-west Greenland climate documented by NEEM shallow ice core data and simulations, and implications for past-temperature reconstructions
Masson-Delmotte, V.; Steen-Larsen, H.; Ortega, P. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2015), 9

Combined records of snow accumulation rate, δ18O and deuterium excess were produced from several shallow ice cores and snow pits at NEEM (North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling), covering the period from ... [more ▼]

Combined records of snow accumulation rate, δ18O and deuterium excess were produced from several shallow ice cores and snow pits at NEEM (North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling), covering the period from 1724 to 2007. They are used to investigate recent climate variability and characterise the isotope–temperature relationship. We find that NEEM records are only weakly affected by inter-annual changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation. Decadal δ18O and accumulation variability is related to North Atlantic sea surface temperature and is enhanced at the beginning of the 19th century. No long-term trend is observed in the accumulation record. By contrast, NEEM δ18O shows multidecadal increasing trends in the late 19th century and since the 1980s. The strongest annual positive δ18O values are recorded at NEEM in 1928 and 2010, while maximum accumulation occurs in 1933. The last decade is the most enriched in δ18O (warmest), while the 11-year periods with the strongest depletion (coldest) are depicted at NEEM in 1815–1825 and 1836–1846, which are also the driest 11-year periods. The NEEM accumulation and δ18O records are strongly correlated with outputs from atmospheric models, nudged to atmospheric reanalyses. Best performance is observed for ERA reanalyses. Gridded temperature reconstructions, instrumental data and model outputs at NEEM are used to estimate the multidecadal accumulation–temperature and δ18O–temperature relationships for the strong warming period in 1979–2007. The accumulation sensitivity to temperature is estimated at 11 ± 2 % °C−1 and the δ18O–temperature slope at 1.1 ± 0.2 ‰ °C−1, about twice as large as previously used to estimate last interglacial temperature change from the bottom part of the NEEM deep ice core. [less ▲]

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See detailFuture climate and surface mass balance of Svalbard glaciers in an RCP8.5 climate scenario: a study with the regional climate model MAR forced by MIROC5
Lang, Charlotte ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg

in Cryosphere (The) (2015), 9

We simulated the 21st century Svalbard SMB with the regional model MAR (RCP8.5 scenario). Melt is projected to increase gently up to 2050 and then dramatically increase, with a larger increase in the ... [more ▼]

We simulated the 21st century Svalbard SMB with the regional model MAR (RCP8.5 scenario). Melt is projected to increase gently up to 2050 and then dramatically increase, with a larger increase in the south of the archipelago. This difference is due to larger ice albedo decrease in the south causing larger increase of absorbed solar radiation. The ablation area is projected to disappear over the entire Svalbard by 2085. The SMB decrease compared to present is projected to contribute 7mm to SLR. [less ▲]

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See detailRecent summer Arctic atmospheric circulation anomalies in a historical perspective
Belleflamme, Alexandre ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg

in Cryosphere (The) (2015), 9

A significant increase in the summertime occurrence of a high pressure area over the Beaufort Sea, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and Greenland has been observed since the beginning of the 2000s, and ... [more ▼]

A significant increase in the summertime occurrence of a high pressure area over the Beaufort Sea, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and Greenland has been observed since the beginning of the 2000s, and particularly between 2007 and 2012. These circulation anomalies are likely partly responsible for the enhanced Greenland ice sheet melt as well as the Arctic sea ice loss observed since 2007. Therefore, it is interesting to analyse whether similar conditions might have happened since the late 19th century over the Arctic region. We have used an atmospheric circulation type classification based on daily mean sea level pressure and 500 hPa geopotential height data from five reanalysis data sets (ERA-Interim, ERA-40, NCEP/NCAR, ERA-20C, and 20CRv2) to put the recent circulation anomalies in perspective with the atmospheric circulation variability since 1871. We found that circulation conditions similar to 2007–2012 have occurred in the past, despite a higher uncertainty of the reconstructed circulation before 1940. For example, only ERA-20C shows circulation anomalies that could explain the 1920–1930 summertime Greenland warming, in contrast to 20CRv2. While the recent anomalies exceed by a factor of 2 the interannual variability of the atmospheric circulation of the Arctic region, their origin (natural variability or global warming) remains debatable. [less ▲]

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See detailStable climate and surface mass balance in Svalbard over 1979–2013 despite the Arctic warming
Lang, Charlotte ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg

in Cryosphere (The) (2015), 9

With the help of the regional climate model MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional) forced by the ERA-Interim reanalysis (MARERA) and the MIROC5 (Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate) global model ... [more ▼]

With the help of the regional climate model MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional) forced by the ERA-Interim reanalysis (MARERA) and the MIROC5 (Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate) global model (MARMIROC5) from the CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project) database, we have modelled the climate and surface mass balance of Svalbard at a 10 km resolution over 1979–2013. The integrated total surface mass balance (SMB) over Svalbard modelled by MARERA is negative (−1.6 Gt yr−1) with a large interannual variability (7.1 Gt) but, unlike over Greenland, there has been no acceleration of the surface melt over the past 35 years because of the recent change in atmospheric circulation bringing northwesterly flows in summer over Svalbard, contrasting the recent observed Arctic warming. However, in 2013, the atmospheric circulation changed to a south–southwesterly flow over Svalbard causing record melt, SMB (−20.4 Gt yr−1) and summer temperature. MIROC5 is significantly colder than ERA-Interim over 1980–2005 but MARMIROC5 is able to improve the near-surface MIROC5 results by simulating not significant SMB differences with MARERA over 1980–2005. On the other hand, MIROC5 does not represent the recent atmospheric circulation shift in summer and induces in MARMIROC5 a significant trend of decreasing SMB (−0.6 Gt yr−2) over 1980–2005. [less ▲]

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See detailAssessing spatio-temporal variability and trends in modelled and measured Greenland Ice Sheet albedo (2000–2013)
Alexander, P.; Tedesco, M.; Fettweis, Xavier ULg et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2014), 8

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

Accurate measurements and simulations of Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface albedo are essential, given the 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 (JJA) 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 spatio-temporal 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 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 indicate a decrease in albedo of −0.03 to −0.06 per decade over the period 2003–2013 for the GrIS ablation area. Nevertheless, satellite products show a decline in JJA albedo of −0.03 to −0.04 per decade for regions within the accumulation area that is not confirmed by either the model or in situ observations. These findings appear to contradict a previous study that found an agreement between in situ and MODIS trends for individual months. The results indicate a need for further evaluation of high elevation albedo trends, a reconciliation of MODIS mean albedo at high latitudes, and the importance of accurately simulating bare ice albedo in RCMs. [less ▲]

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See detailSensitivity of Greenland Ice Sheet surface mass balance to perturbations in sea surface temperature and sea ice cover: a study with the regional climate model MAR
Noel, Brice; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; van de Berg, W.J. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2014), 8

During recent summers (2007–2012), several surface melt records were broken over the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). The extreme summer melt resulted in part from a persistent negative phase of the North ... [more ▼]

During recent summers (2007–2012), several surface melt records were broken over the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). The extreme summer melt resulted in part from a persistent negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), favoring warmer atmospheric conditions than normal over the GrIS. Simultaneously, large anomalies in sea ice cover (SIC) and sea surface temperature (SST) were observed in the North Atlantic, suggesting a possible connection. To assess the direct impact of 2007–2012 SIC and SST anomalies on GrIS surface mass balance (SMB), a set of sensitivity experiments was carried out with the regional climate model MAR forced by ERA-Interim. These simulations suggest that perturbations in SST and SIC in the seas surrounding Greenland do not considerably impact GrIS SMB, as a result of the katabatic wind blocking effect. These offshore-directed winds prevent oceanic near-surface air, influenced by SIC and SST anomalies, from penetrating far inland. Therefore, the ice sheet SMB response is restricted to coastal regions, where katabatic winds cease. A topic for further investigation is how anomalies in SIC and SST might have indirectly affected the surface melt by changing the general circulation in the North Atlantic region, hence favoring more frequent warm air advection towards the GrIS. [less ▲]

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See detailPhysical controls on the storage of methane in landfast sea ice
Zhou, Jiayun ULg; Tison, J.-L.; Carnat, G. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2014), 8(3), 1019-1029

We report on methane (CH4) dynamics in landfast sea ice, brine and under-ice seawater at Barrow in 2009. The CH4 concentrations in under-ice water ranged between 25.9 and 116.4 nmol L-1sw, indicating a ... [more ▼]

We report on methane (CH4) dynamics in landfast sea ice, brine and under-ice seawater at Barrow in 2009. The CH4 concentrations in under-ice water ranged between 25.9 and 116.4 nmol L-1sw, indicating a supersaturation of 700 to 3100 % relative to the atmosphere. In comparison, the CH4 concentrations in sea ice, ranged between 3.4 and 17.2 nmol L-1ice, and the deduced CH4 concentrations in brine, between 13.2 and 677.7 nmol L-1brine. We investigated on the processes explaining the difference in CH4 concentrations between sea ice, brine and the under-ice water, and suggest that biological controls on the storage of CH4 in ice was minor in comparison to the physical controls. Two physical processes regulated the storage of CH4 in our landfast ice samples: bubble formation within the ice and sea ice permeability. Gas bubble formation from solubility changes had favoured the accumulation of CH4 in the ice at the beginning of ice growth. CH4 retention in sea ice was then twice as efficient as that of salt; this also explains the overall higher CH4 concentrations in brine than in the under-ice water. As sea ice thickened, gas bubble formation became less efficient, CH4 was then mainly trapped in the dissolved state. The increase of sea ice permeability during ice melt marked the end of CH4 storage. [less ▲]

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See detailEffect of uncertainty in surface mass balance–elevation feedback on projections of the future sea level contribution of the Greenland ice sheet
Edwards, T.; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Gagliardini, O. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2014), 8

We apply a new parameterisation of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) feedback between surface mass balance (SMB: the sum of surface accumulation and surface ablation) and surface elevation in the MAR ... [more ▼]

We apply a new parameterisation of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) feedback between surface mass balance (SMB: the sum of surface accumulation and surface ablation) and surface elevation in the MAR regional climate model (Edwards et al., 2014) to projections of future climate change using five ice sheet models (ISMs). The MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional: Fettweis, 2007) climate projections are for 2000–2199, forced by the ECHAM5 and HadCM3 global climate models (GCMs) under the SRES A1B emissions scenario. The additional sea level contribution due to the SMB–elevation feedback averaged over five ISM projections for ECHAM5 and three for HadCM3 is 4.3% (best estimate; 95% credibility interval 1.8–6.9%) at 2100, and 9.6% (best estimate; 95% credibility interval 3.6–16.0%) at 2200. In all results the elevation feedback is significantly positive, amplifying the GrIS sea level contribution relative to the MAR projections in which the ice sheet topography is fixed: the lower bounds of our 95% credibility intervals (CIs) for sea level contributions are larger than the "no feedback" case for all ISMs and GCMs. Our method is novel in sea level projections because we propagate three types of modelling uncertainty – GCM and ISM structural uncertainties, and elevation feedback parameterisation uncertainty – along the causal chain, from SRES scenario to sea level, within a coherent experimental design and statistical framework. The relative contributions to uncertainty depend on the timescale of interest. At 2100, the GCM uncertainty is largest, but by 2200 both the ISM and parameterisation uncertainties are larger. We also perform a perturbed parameter ensemble with one ISM to estimate the shape of the projected sea level probability distribution; our results indicate that the probability density is slightly skewed towards higher sea level contributions. [less ▲]

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See detailProbabilistic parameterisation of the surface mass balance–elevation feedback in regional climate model simulations of the Greenland ice sheet
Edwards, T.; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Gagliardini, O. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2014), 8

We present a new parameterisation that relates surface mass balance (SMB: the sum of surface accumulation and surface ablation) to changes in surface elevation of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) for the ... [more ▼]

We present a new parameterisation that relates surface mass balance (SMB: the sum of surface accumulation and surface ablation) to changes in surface elevation of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) for the MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional: Fettweis, 2007) regional climate model. The motivation is to dynamically adjust SMB as the GrIS evolves, allowing us to force ice sheet models with SMB simulated by MAR while incorporating the SMB–elevation feedback, without the substantial technical challenges of coupling ice sheet and climate models. This also allows us to assess the effect of elevation feedback uncertainty on the GrIS contribution to sea level, using multiple global climate and ice sheet models, without the need for additional, expensive MAR simulations. We estimate this relationship separately below and above the equilibrium line altitude (ELA, separating negative and positive SMB) and for regions north and south of 77° N, from a set of MAR simulations in which we alter the ice sheet surface elevation. These give four "SMB lapse rates", gradients that relate SMB changes to elevation changes. We assess uncertainties within a Bayesian framework, estimating probability distributions for each gradient from which we present best estimates and credibility intervals (CI) that bound 95% of the probability. Below the ELA our gradient estimates are mostly positive, because SMB usually increases with elevation: 0.56 (95% CI: −0.22 to 1.33) kg m−3 a−1 for the north, and 1.91 (1.03 to 2.61) kg m−3 a−1 for the south. Above the ELA, the gradients are much smaller in magnitude: 0.09 (−0.03 to 0.23) kg m−3 a−1 in the north, and 0.07 (−0.07 to 0.59) kg m−3 a−1 in the south, because SMB can either increase or decrease in response to increased elevation. [less ▲]

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See detailSea ice pCO2 dynamics and air–ice CO2 fluxes during the Sea Ice Mass Balance in the Antarctic (SIMBA) experiment – Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica
Geilfus, N.-X.; Tison, J.-L.; Ackley, S. F. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2014), 8(6), 2395--2407

Temporal evolution of pCO2 profiles in sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica, in October 2007 shows physical and thermodynamic processes controls theCO2 sys- tem in the ice. During the survey ... [more ▼]

Temporal evolution of pCO2 profiles in sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica, in October 2007 shows physical and thermodynamic processes controls theCO2 sys- tem in the ice. During the survey, cyclical warming and cool- ing strongly influenced the physical, chemical, and thermo- dynamic properties of the ice cover. Two sampling sites with contrasting characteristics of ice and snow thickness were sampled: one had little snow accumulation (from 8 to 25 cm) and larger temperature and salinity variations than the sec- ond site, where the snow cover was up to 38 cm thick and therefore better insulated the underlying sea ice. We show that each cooling/warming event was associated with an in- crease/decrease in the brine salinity, total alkalinity (TA), to- tal dissolved inorganic carbon (TCO2), and in situ brine and bulk ice CO2 partial pressures (pCO2). Thicker snow covers reduced the amplitude of these changes: snow cover influ- ences the sea ice carbonate system by modulating the temper- ature and therefore the salinity of the sea ice cover. Results indicate that pCO2 was undersaturated with respect to the at- mosphere both in the in situ bulk ice (from 10 to 193 µatm) and brine (from 65 to 293 µatm), causing the sea ice to act as a sink for atmospheric CO2 (up to 2.9mmolm−2 d−1), despite supersaturation of the underlying seawater (up to 462 µatm) [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence and analysis of 2012 Greenland records from spaceborne observations, a regional climate model and reanalysis data
Tedesco, M.; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Mote, T. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2013), 7

A combined analysis of remote sensing observations, regional climate model (RCM) outputs and reanalysis data over the Greenland ice sheet provides evidence that multiple records were set during summer ... [more ▼]

A combined analysis of remote sensing observations, regional climate model (RCM) outputs and reanalysis data over the Greenland ice sheet provides evidence that multiple records were set during summer 2012. Melt extent was the largest in the satellite era (extending up to ∼97% of the ice sheet) and melting lasted up to ∼2 months longer than the 1979–2011 mean. Model results indicate that near surface temperature was ∼3 standard deviations (σ) above the 1958–2011 mean, while surface mass balance (SMB) was ∼3σ below the mean and runoff was 3.9σ above the mean over the same period. Albedo, exposure of bare ice and surface mass balance also set new records, as did the total mass balance with summer and annual mass changes of, respectively, −627 Gt and −574 Gt, 2σ below the 2003–2012 mean. We identify persistent anticyclonic conditions over Greenland associated with anomalies in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), changes in surface conditions (e.g., albedo, surface temperature) and preconditioning of surface properties from recent extreme melting as major driving mechanisms for the 2012 records. Less positive if not increasingly negative SMB will likely occur should these characteristics persist. [less ▲]

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See detailSurface mass balance model intercomparison for the Greenland ice sheet
Vernon, C.L.; Bamber, J.L.; Box, J.E. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2013), 7

A number of high resolution reconstructions of the surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) have been produced using global re-analyses data extending back to 1958. These ... [more ▼]

A number of high resolution reconstructions of the surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) have been produced using global re-analyses data extending back to 1958. These reconstructions have been used in a variety of applications but little is known about their consistency with each other and the impact of the downscaling method on the result. Here, we compare four reconstructions for the period 1960–2008 to assess the consistency in regional, seasonal and integrated SMB components. Total SMB estimates for the GrIS are in agreement within 34% of the four model average when a common ice sheet mask is used. When models' native land/ice/sea masks are used this spread increases to 57%. Variation in the spread of components of SMB from their mean: runoff 42% (29% native masks), precipitation 20% (24% native masks), melt 38% (74% native masks), refreeze 83% (142% native masks) show, with the exception of refreeze, a similar level of agreement once a common mask is used. Previously noted differences in the models' estimates are partially explained by ice sheet mask differences. Regionally there is less agreement, suggesting spatially compensating errors improve the integrated estimates. Modelled SMB estimates are compared with in situ observations from the accumulation and ablation areas. Agreement is higher in the accumulation area than the ablation area suggesting relatively high uncertainty in the estimation of ablation processes. Since the mid-1990s each model estimates a decreasing annual SMB. A similar period of decreasing SMB is also estimated for the period 1960–1972. The earlier decrease is due to reduced precipitation with runoff remaining unchanged, however, the recent decrease is associated with increased precipitation, now more than compensated for by increased melt driven runoff. Additionally, in three of the four models the equilibrium line altitude has risen since the mid-1990s, reducing the accumulation area at a rate of approximately 60 000 km2 per decade due to increased melting. Improving process representation requires further study but the use of a single accurate ice sheet mask is a logical way to reduce uncertainty among models. [less ▲]

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See detailEstimating the Greenland ice sheet surface mass balance contribution to future sea level rise using the regional atmospheric climate model MAR
Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Franco, Bruno ULg; Tedesco, M. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2013), 7

To estimate the sea level rise (SLR) originating from changes in surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS), we present 21st century climate projections obtained with the regional ... [more ▼]

To estimate the sea level rise (SLR) originating from changes in surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS), we present 21st century climate projections obtained with the regional climate model MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional), forced by output of three CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5) general circulation models (GCMs). Our results indicate that in a warmer climate, mass gain from increased winter snowfall over the GrIS does not compensate mass loss through increased meltwater run-off in summer. Despite the large spread in the projected near-surface warming, all the MAR projections show similar non-linear increase of GrIS surface melt volume because no change is projected in the general atmospheric circulation over Greenland. By coarsely estimating the GrIS SMB changes from GCM output, we show that the uncertainty from the GCM-based forcing represents about half of the projected SMB changes. In 2100, the CMIP5 ensemble mean projects a GrIS SMB decrease equivalent to a mean SLR of +4 ± 2 cm and +9 ± 4 cm for the RCP (Representative Concentration Pathways) 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios respectively. These estimates do not consider the positive melt–elevation feedback, although sensitivity experiments using perturbed ice sheet topographies consistent with the projected SMB changes demonstrate that this is a significant feedback, and highlight the importance of coupling regional climate models to an ice sheet model. Such a coupling will allow the assessment of future response of both surface processes and ice-dynamic changes to rising temperatures, as well as their mutual feedbacks. [less ▲]

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See detailImportant role of the mid-tropospheric atmospheric circulation in the recent surface melt increase over the Greenland ice sheet
Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Hanna, Edward; Lang, Charlotte ULg et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2013), 7

Since 2007, there has been a series of surface melt records over the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS), continuing the trend towards increased melt observed since the end of the 1990's. The last two decades are ... [more ▼]

Since 2007, there has been a series of surface melt records over the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS), continuing the trend towards increased melt observed since the end of the 1990's. The last two decades are characterized by an increase of negative phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) favouring warmer and drier summers than normal over GrIS. In this context, we use a circulation type classification based on daily 500 hPa geopotential height to evaluate the role of atmospheric dynamics in this surface melt acceleration for the last two decades. Due to the lack of direct observations, the interannual melt variability is gauged here by the summer (June–July–August) mean temperature from reanalyses at 700 hPa over Greenland; analogous atmospheric circulations in the past show that ~70% of the 1993–2012 warming at 700 hPa over Greenland has been driven by changes in the atmospheric flow frequencies. Indeed, the occurrence of anticyclones centred over the GrIS at the surface and at 500 hPa has doubled since the end of 1990's, which induces more frequent southerly warm air advection along the western Greenland coast and over the neighbouring Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA). These changes in the NAO modes explain also why no significant warming has been observed these last summers over Svalbard, where northerly atmospheric flows are twice as frequent as before. Therefore, the recent warmer summers over GrIS and CAA cannot be considered as a long-term climate warming but are more a consequence of NAO variability affecting atmospheric heat transport. Although no global model from the CMIP5 database projects subsequent significant changes in NAO through this century, we cannot exclude the possibility that the observed NAO changes are due to global warming. [less ▲]

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See detailFuture projections of the Greenland ice sheet energy balance driving the surface melt
Franco, Bruno ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg

in Cryosphere (The) (2013), 7

In this study, simulations at 25 km resolution are performed over the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, using the regional climate model MAR forced by four RCP scenarios ... [more ▼]

In this study, simulations at 25 km resolution are performed over the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, using the regional climate model MAR forced by four RCP scenarios from three CMIP5 global circulation models (GCMs), in order to investigate the projected changes of the surface energy balance (SEB) components driving the surface melt. Analysis of 2000–2100 melt anomalies compared to melt results over 1980–1999 reveals an exponential relationship of the GrIS surface melt rate simulated by MAR to the near-surface air temperature (TAS) anomalies, mainly due to the surface albedo positive feedback associated with the extension of bare ice areas in summer. On the GrIS margins, the future melt anomalies are preferentially driven by stronger sensible heat fluxes, induced by enhanced warm air advection over the ice sheet. Over the central dry snow zone, the surface albedo positive feedback induced by the increase in summer melt exceeds the negative feedback of heavier snowfall for TAS anomalies higher than 4 °C. In addition to the incoming longwave flux increase associated with the atmosphere warming, GCM-forced MAR simulations project an increase of the cloud cover decreasing the ratio of the incoming shortwave versus longwave radiation and dampening the albedo feedback. However, it should be noted that this trend in the cloud cover is contrary to that simulated by ERA-Interim–forced MAR for recent climate conditions, where the observed melt increase since the 1990s seems mainly to be a consequence of more anticyclonic atmospheric conditions. Finally, no significant change is projected in the length of the melt season, which highlights the importance of solar radiation absorbed by the ice sheet surface in the melt SEB. [less ▲]

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See detailAn updated and quality controlled surface mass balance dataset for Antarctica
Favier, Vincent; Agosta, Cécile ULg; Parouty, Soazig et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2013), 7

We present an updated and quality controlled surface mass balance (SMB) database for the Antarctic ice sheet. We retrieved a total of 5284 SMB data documented with important meta-data, to which a filter ... [more ▼]

We present an updated and quality controlled surface mass balance (SMB) database for the Antarctic ice sheet. We retrieved a total of 5284 SMB data documented with important meta-data, to which a filter was applied to discard data with limited spatial and temporal representativeness, too small measurement accuracy, or lack of quality control. A total of 3438 reliable data was obtained, which is about four times more than by applying the same data filtering process to previously available databases. New important data with high spatial resolution are now available over long traverses, and at low elevation in some areas. However, the quality control led to a considerable reduction in the spatial density of data in several regions, particularly over West Antarctica. Over interior plateaus, where the SMB is low, the spatial density of mea- surements remained high. This quality controlled dataset was compared to results from ERA-Interim reanalysis to assess model representativeness over Antarctica, and also to identify large areas where data gaps impede model validation. Except for very few areas (e.g. Adelie Land), the elevation range between 200 m and 1000 m a.s.l. is not correctly sampled in the field, and measurements do not allow a thorough validation of models in regions with complex topography, where the highest scattering of SMB values is reported. Clearly, increasing the spatial density of field measurements at low elevations, in the Antarctic Peninsula and in West Antarctica remains a scientific priority. [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 detailSensitivity of Greenland Ice Sheet surface mass balance to surface albedo parameterization: a study with a regional climate model
van Angelen, J.; Lenaerts, J.; Lhermitte, S. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2012), 6

We present a sensitivity study of the surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland Ice Sheet, as modeled using a regional atmospheric climate model, to various parameter settings in the albedo scheme. The ... [more ▼]

We present a sensitivity study of the surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland Ice Sheet, as modeled using a regional atmospheric climate model, to various parameter settings in the albedo scheme. The snow albedo scheme uses grain size as a prognostic variable and further depends on cloud cover, solar zenith angle and black carbon concentration. For the control experiment the overestimation of absorbed shortwave radiation (+6%) at the K-transect (west Greenland) for the period 2004–2009 is considerably reduced compared to the previous density-dependent albedo scheme (+22%). To simulate realistic snow albedo values, a small concentration of black carbon is needed, which has strongest impact on melt in the accumulation area. A background ice albedo field derived from MODIS imagery improves the agreement between the modeled and observed SMB gradient along the K-transect. The effect of enhanced meltwater retention and refreezing is a decrease of the albedo due to an increase in snow grain size. As a secondary effect of refreezing the snowpack is heated, enhancing melt and further lowering the albedo. Especially in a warmer climate this process is important, since it reduces the refreezing potential of the firn layer that covers the Greenland Ice Sheet. [less ▲]

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See detailSimulating the growth of supra-glacial lakes at the western margin of the Greenland ice sheet
Leeson, A.; Shepherd, A.; Palmer, S. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2012), 6

We present a new method of modelling the growth of supraglacial lakes at the western margin of the Greenland ice sheet, based on routing runoff estimated by a regional climate model across a digital ... [more ▼]

We present a new method of modelling the growth of supraglacial lakes at the western margin of the Greenland ice sheet, based on routing runoff estimated by a regional climate model across a digital elevation model (DEM) of the ice sheet surface. Using data acquired during the 2003 melt season, we demonstrate that the model is 19 times more likely to correctly predict the presence (or absence) of lakes than it is to make incorrect predictions, within an elevation range of 1100 to 1700 metres above sea level (m a.s.l.), when compared with MODIS satellite imagery. Of the 66% of observed lake locations which the model correctly reproduces, the simulated lake onset day is found to be correlated with that observed with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.76. Our model accurately simulates maximum cumulative lake area with only a 1.5% overestimate. However, because our model does not simulate processes leading to lake stagnation or decay, such as refreezing or drainage, at present we do not simulate absolute daily lake area. We find that the maximum potential lake-covered ice sheet area is limited by topography to 6.4%. We estimate that this corresponds to a volume of 1.49 km3, 12% of the runoff produced in 2003. This can be taken as an upper bound given uncertainty in the DEM. This study has proved a good first step towards capturing the variability of supraglacial lake evolution with a numerical model. These initial results are promising and suggest that the model is a useful tool for use in analysing the behaviour of supraglacial lakes on the Greenland ice sheet in the present day and potentially beyond. [less ▲]

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See detailSensitivity of a Greenland ice sheet model to atmospheric forcing fields
Quiquet, A.; Punge, H.; Ritz, C. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2012), 6

Predicting the climate for the future and how it will impact ice sheet evolution requires coupling ice sheet models with climate models. However, before we attempt to develop a realistic coupled setup, we ... [more ▼]

Predicting the climate for the future and how it will impact ice sheet evolution requires coupling ice sheet models with climate models. However, before we attempt to develop a realistic coupled setup, we propose, in this study, to first analyse the impact of a model simulated climate on an ice sheet. We undertake this exercise for a set of regional and global climate models. Modelled near surface air temperature and precipitation are provided as upper boundary conditions to the GRISLI (GRenoble Ice Shelf and Land Ice model) hybrid ice sheet model (ISM) in its Greenland configuration. After 20 kyrs of simulation, the resulting ice sheets highlight the differences between the climate models. While modelled ice sheet sizes are generally comparable to the observed one, there are considerable deviations among the ice sheets on regional scales. These deviations can be explained by biases in temperature and precipitation near the coast. This is especially true in the case of global models. But the deviations between the climate models are also due to the differences in the atmospheric general circulation. To account for these differences in the context of coupling ice sheet models with climate models, we conclude that appropriate downscaling methods will be needed. In some cases, systematic corrections of the climatic variables at the interface may be required to obtain realistic results for the Greenland ice sheet (GIS). [less ▲]

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