Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Greenland ice sheet surface melt extent and trends: 1960–2010

  • Sebastian H. Mernild (a1), Thomas L. Mote (a2) and Glen E. Liston (a3)

Abstract

Observed meteorological data and a high-resolution (5 km) model were used to simulate Greenland ice sheet surface melt extent and trends before the satellite era (1960–79) and during the satellite era through 2010°. The model output was compared with passive microwave satellite observations of melt extent. For 1960–2010 the average simulated melt extent was 15 ± 5%. For the period 1960–72, simulated melt extent decreased by an average of 6%, whereas 1973–2010 had an average increase of 13%, with record melt extent in 2010. The trend in simulated melt extent since 1972 indicated that the melt extent in 2010 averaged twice that in the early 1970s. The maximum and mean melt extents for 2010 were 52% (∼9.5 × 105 km2) and 28% (∼5.2 × 105 km2), respectively, due to higher-than-average winter and summer temperatures and lower-than-average winter precipitation. For 2010, the southwest Greenland melt duration was 41–60 days longer than the 1960–2010 average, while the northeast Greenland melt duration was up to 20 days shorter. From 1960 to 1972 the melting period (with a >10% melt extent) decreased by an average of 3 days a−1. After 1972, the period increased by an average of 2 days a−1, indicating an extended melting period for the ice sheet of about 70 days: 40 and 30 days in spring and autumn, respectively.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Greenland ice sheet surface melt extent and trends: 1960–2010
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Greenland ice sheet surface melt extent and trends: 1960–2010
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Greenland ice sheet surface melt extent and trends: 1960–2010
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Abdalati, W. and Steffen, K.. 1997. The apparent effects of the Mt Pinatubo eruption on the Greenland ice-sheet melt extent. Geophys. Res. Lett., 24(14), 17951797.
Anderson, M.R., Mote, T. and Abdalati, W.. 1996. A comparison of passive microwave techniques for detecting snowpack melt on the Greenland ice sheet. In Colbeck, S.C., ed. Glaciers, ice sheets and volcanoes: a tribute to Mark F. Meier. Hanover, NH, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, 59. (CRREL Special Report 96-27.)
Bamber, J.L., Ekholm, S. and Krabill, W.B.. 2001. A new, high-resolution digital elevation model of Greenland fully validated with airborne laser altimeter data. J. Geophys. Res., 106(B4), 67336745.
Barnes, S.L. 1964. A technique for maximizing details in numerical weather map analysis. J. Appl. Meteorol., 3(4), 396409.
Barnes, S.L. 1973. Mesoscale objective map analysis using weighted time-series observations. NOAA Tech. Mem. ERL NSSL-62.
Box, J.E. and 8 others. 2006. Greenland ice sheet surface mass balance variability (1988–2004) from calibrated polar MM5 output. J. Climate, 19(12), 27832800.
Chylek, P., Folland, C.K., Lesins, G. and Dubey, M.K.. 2010. Twentieth century bipolar seesaw of the Arctic and Antarctic surface air temperatures. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37(8), L08703. (10.1029/2010GL042793.)
Douville, H., Royer, J.F. and Mahfouf, J.F.. 1995. A new snow parameterization for the Météo-France climate model. Part 1. Validation in stand-alone experiments. Climate Dyn., 12(1), 2135.
Fettweis, X., Tedesco, M., van den Broeke, M. and Ettema, J.. 2010. Melting trends over the Greenland ice sheet (1958–2009) from spaceborne microwave data and regional climate models. Cryos. Discuss., 4(4), 24332473.
Fettweis, X., Tedesco, M., van den Broeke, M. and Ettema, J.. 2011. Melting trends over the Greenland ice sheet (1958–2009) from spaceborne microwave data and regonal climate models. Cryosphere, 5(20), 359375.
Hanna, E., Huybrechts, P., Janssens, I., Cappelen, J., Steffen, K. and Stephens, A.. 2005. Runoff and mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet: 1958–2003. J. Geophys. Res., 110(D13), D13108. (10.1029/2004JD005641.)
Hanna, E. and 8 others. 2008. Increased runoff from melt from the Greenland Ice Sheet: a response to global warming. J. Climate, 21(2), 331341.
Koch, S.E., desJardins, M. and Kocin, P.J.. 1983. An interactive Barnes objective map analysis scheme for use with satellite and conventional data. J. Climate Appl. Meteorol., 22(9), 14871503.
Liston, G.E. and Elder, K.. 2006a. A distributed snow-evolution modeling system (SnowModel). J. Hydromet., 7(6), 12591276.
Liston, G.E. and Elder, K.. 2006b. A meteorological distribution system for high-resolution terrestrial modeling (MicroMet). J. Hydromet., 7(2), 217234.
Liston, G.E. and Hiemstra, C.A.. 2008. A simple data assimilation system for complex snow distributions (SnowAssim). J. Hydromet., 9(5), 9891004.
Liston, G.E. and Hiemstra, C.A.. In press. The changing cryosphere: pan-Arctic snow trends (1979–2009). J. Climate.
Liston, G.E., Haehnel, R.B., Sturm, M., Hiemstra, C.A., Berezovskaya, S. and Tabler, R.D.. 2007. Simulating complex snow distributions in windy environments using SnowTran-3D. J. Glaciol., 53(181), 241256.
Mernild, S.H. and Hasholt, B.. 2009. Observed runoff, jökulhlaups and suspended sediment load from the Greenland ice sheet at Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland, 2007 and 2008. J. Glaciol., 55(193), 855858
Mernild, S.H. and Liston, G.E.. 2010. The influence of air temperature inversions on snow melt and glacier surface mass-balance simulations, Ammassalik Island, Southeast Greenland. J. Appl. Meteorol. Climatol., 49(1), 4767. (10.1175/2009JAMC2065.1.)
Mernild, S.H., Liston, G.E., Hasholt, B. and Knudsen, N.T.. 2006. Snow distribution and melt modeling for Mittivakkat Glacier, Ammassalik Island, Southeast Greenland. J. Hydromet., 7(4), 808824.
Mernild, S.H., Liston, G.E., Hiemstra, C.A. and Steffen, K.. 2008. Surface melt area and water balance modeling on the Greenland ice sheet 1995–2005. J. Hydromet., 9(6), 11911211.
Mernild, S.H., Liston, G.E., Hiemstra, C.A., Steffen, K., Hanna, E. and Christensen, J.H.. 2009. Greenland ice sheet surface mass-balance modelling and freshwater flux for 2007, and in a 1995– 2007 perspective. Hydrol. Process., 23(17), 24702484.
Mernild, S.H., Liston, G.E., Hiemstra, C.A. and Christensen, J.H.. 2010. Greenland Ice Sheet surface mass-balance modeling in a 131-year perspective 1950–2080. J. Hydromet, 11(1), 325.
Mernild, S.H., Liston, G.E., Hiemstra, C.A., Christensen, J.H., Stendem, M. and Hasholt, B.. 2011. Surface mass-balance and runoff modeling using HIRHAM4 RCM at Kangerlussuaq, (Søndre Strømfjord), West Greenland, 1950–2080. J. Climate, 24(3), 609623.
Mote, T.L. 2007. Greenland surface melt trends 1973–2007: evidence of a large increase in 2007. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34(22), L22507. (10.1029/2007GL031976.)
Mote, T.L. and Anderson, M.R.. 1995. Variations in snowpack melt on the Greenland ice sheet based on passive-microwave measurements. J. Glaciol., 41(137), 5160.
Nick, F.M., Vieli, A., Howat, I.M. and Joughin, I.. 2009. Large-scale changes in Greenland outlet glacier dynamics triggered at the terminus. Nature Geosci., 2(2), 110114.
Oke, T. R. 1987. Boundary layer climates. Second edition. London, Methuen.
Rignot, E. and Kanagaratnam, P.. 2006. Changes in the velocity structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Science, 311(5673), 986990.
Solomon, S. and 7 others, eds. 2007. Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, etc., Cambridge University Press.
Steffen, K. 1995. Surface energy exchange at the equilibrium line on the Greenland ice sheet during onset of melt. Ann. Glaciol., 21, 1318.
Steffen, K. and 6 others. 2008. Rapid changes in glaciers and ice sheets and their impacts on sea level. In Abrupt climate change. Reston, VA, US Geological Survey, 2966. (US Climate Change Science Program: Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.4.)
Stiles, W.H. and Ulaby, F.T.. 1980. The active and passive microwave response to snow parameters. 1. Wetness. J. Geophys. Res., 85(C2), 10371044.
Tedesco, M. 2007. A new record in 2007 for melting in Greenland. Eos, 88(39), 383.
Tedesco, M. and 7 others. 2011. The role of albedo and accumulation in the 2010 melting record in Greenland. Environ. Res. Lett., 6, 014005. (10.1088/1748-9326/6/1/014005.)
Zwally, H.J. and Giovinetto, M.B.. 2001. Balance mass flux and ice velocity across the equilibrium line in drainage systems of Greenland. J. Geophys. Res., 106(D24), 33,71733,728.

Greenland ice sheet surface melt extent and trends: 1960–2010

  • Sebastian H. Mernild (a1), Thomas L. Mote (a2) and Glen E. Liston (a3)

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed