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Radiative fluxes and their impact on the energy balance of the Greenland ice sheet

  • Thomas Konzelmann (a1) and Atsumu Ohmura (a1)

Abstract

A meteorological experiment was carried out during the summer months of 1990 and 1991 near the mean equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) on the western slope of the Greenland ice sheet (ΕΤΗ Camp; 69° 34’ N, 49° 17’ W; 1155 m a.s.l.). As a part of the project, the energy fluxes at the surface, including all components of the radiation balance, atmospheric profiles with a tower and radiosondes, and the cloud conditions were investigated in detail. Results from the radiative fluxes are compared with observations made at other locations in order to derive general characteristics of the radiation conditions on the Greenland ice sheet and their relation to the climate cf the ice sheet.

At ΕΤΗ Camp, albedo values obtained at ground level (2 m) and from a high tower (27 m) are similar during the melt season (late May to mid-August) and slightly different during pre- and post-melt seasons due to the interplay of inhomogeneous surface conditions and solar elevation. During the melt period, the decrease in global radiation due to increasing cloud amount is compensated for by an increase, m longwave incomine, radiation. Because of the steady values of longwave outgoing radiation, net radiation at the surface is characterized mainly by the albedo and its variation. The regional net radiation for summer months on the Greenland ice sheet is determined mainly by three facts: (1) a strong increase in alhedo from the ablation area to the ELA and a smaller increase Gom the ELA to the accumulation area: (2) a large increase in longwave outgoing radiation in the ablation area and at the ELA in June and July compared to the accumulation area: (3) a larger amount of cloud of the stratus type at lower areas.

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References

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