Greenland’s Ice-Melt Models May Be Too Sunny

by Megan Gannon](, News Editor | December 16, 2014 12:16pm ET
The vast ice sheet covering Greenland could melt more quickly in the future than existing models predict, new research suggests.
Scientists looked at satellite data collected by NASA’s ICESat spacecraft andOperation IceBridge]( plotted the elevation of 100,000 sites on Greenland from 1993 to 2012.
The researchers were able to create new, more precise estimates for how much ice had melted in the past.
They also found that the ice melts in a rather complex pattern, which should be of interest to scientists trying to predict how much ice will disappear in the future. Images: Greenland’s Gorgeous Glaciers](]
More than a mile thick in most areas, the Greenland Ice Sheet covers nearly all of interior Greenland, anArctic]( about three times the size of Texas.
If the entire ice sheet melted, sea levels around the world would rise about 20 feet (6 meters), according to theNational Snow and Ice Data Center](
Though such a catastrophic scenario isn’t likely to happen anytime soon, smaller increases in sea level could still boost the power of coastal storms, threaten to flood major cities and displace millions of people.
. During the 20th century, sea levels rose by about 6.7 inches (17 centimeters). According to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the current scientific consensus is thatsea levels could creep up]( by 11 inches to 38 inches (28 to 98 cm) by 2100, in part because of melting in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
The new research found that an average of 243 gigatons (or 66.5 cubic miles) of the Greenland Ice Sheet melted each year from 2003 to 2009.
(The scientists had the most comprehensive data for this period.)
That’s enough meltwater to raise oceans by about 0.027 inches (0.68 millimeters) per year, the researchers said.
The study didn’t make any exact predictions for how much ofGreenland’s ice]( melt in the future, but the authors think that current models underestimate the extent of the problem.
“My personal opinion is that most of the predictions of this as far as Greenland is concerned are too low,” study author Beata Csatho, an associate professor of geology at the University at Buffalo,said in a video statement](
Existing models for predicting changes in ice-sheet melt and sea-level rise are typically extrapolated from data on just four of Greenland’s 242 glaciers:Jakobshavn](, Helheim, Kangerlussuaq and Petermann.
That’s a problem, according to the study’s authors, because glaciers — even ones right next to each other — can behave quite differently in any given year.
Today’s models also tend to ignore southeast Greenland’s ice cover, which is experiencing heavy losses, the researchers found.
. In 2005, melting in this region accounted for more than half of the losses to the Greenland Ice Sheet.
Csatho and her colleagues say it’s not easy to predict how glaciers will respond to global warming, because they don’t always melt as the temperature rises.
Their data showed that sometimes the glaciers covering Greenland thickened when the temperature rose, while some areas both thinned and thickened, with abrupt reversals.
To help other researchers create better prediction models, the scientists put all of Greenland’s glaciers into seven groups, based on the characteristics of their melting behavior from 2003 to 2009.
“Understanding the groupings will help us pick out examples of glaciers that are representative of the whole,” Csatho said in a statement. "
We can then use data from these representative glaciers in models to provide a more complete picture of what is happening."
The findings were published Monday (Dec. 15) in thejournal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences](
Follow Megan Gannon on Twitter]( [FONT=Arial]Follow us[/FONT][FONT=Arial]@livescience](, *Facebook](!/livescience)& **Google+]( Original article on Live Scie*[/FONT]
Editor’s Recommendations

Image Gallery: Greenland’s Melting Glaciers](

Salmon Chanted Evening
Obama’s latest green move: Banning drilling in Alaska’s Bristol Bay

By [FONT=Calibri]John Light]([/FONT] on 17 Dec 2014 1:43 am [FONT=Calibri]0 comments]( [/FONT]

President Obama took another step today to build up his green legacy, just the latest in a recent string]( of pro-environment actions.
He protected Alaska’s Bristol Bay, a major environmental and economic resource, by withdrawing the waters indefinitely from future oil and gas drilling.
[FONT=inherit]The Huffington Post’s Kate Sheppard reports]([/FONT]
Obama said in a video Tuesday]( that he had issued a memorandum withdrawing the region from all future oil and gas lease sales.
The region, he said, “is a beautiful, natural wonder and it’s something that is too precious for us to be putting out to the highest bidder.”
The region is the source of 40 percent]( of the wild-caught fish in the United States, and its fishing industry generates $2 billion each year.
The George W. Bush administration opened 5.6 million acres]( of the North Aleutian Basin for oil and gas leasing in 2007.
In March 2010, Obama withdrew the area]( from offshore lease sales through 2017. Tuesday’s announcement extends those protections indefinitely.
The White House also noted]( that the bay is home to one of the world’s largest wild salmon runs, driving $100 million in tourism every year,
and to many threatened and endangered species, including beluga and killer whales and the North Pacific right whale.
The move prompted excitement among environmental groups.
. “The administration’s decision to protect Bristol Bay is a huge win for both Bristol Bay fishermen and the region’s coastal communities,”
Margaret Williams, managing director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Arctic program, told The Wall Street Journal](
Even Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski ®, usually of the “Drill, Baby, Drill” school of thinking](, cautiously gave her nod of approval:
“Given the lack of interest by industry and the public divide over allowing oil and gas exploration in this area,
I am not objecting to this decision at this time,” she said in a statement. “I think we all recognize that these are some of our state’s richest fishing waters.”
The Department of the Interior is expected to announce the offshore areas where it will allow oil and gas drilling early next year.
Meanwhile, a decision on a massive proposed gold and copper mine](, which potentially poses a bigger threat to Bristol Bay, is still outstanding.
As The Wall Street Journal notes, “Tuesday’s announcement is separate from a forthcoming decision by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency regarding the extent to which it intends to allow mining activity at the Pebble Mine site onshore around Bristol Bay.”
[FONT=Calibri]Obama Bars Oil and Gas Development In Alaska’s Bristol Bay](, The Huffington Post.
Obama Blocks Oil and Natural Gas Drilling in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, The Wall Street Journal[/FONT]

[FONT=Calibri]Watch this guy explain the science behind climate deniers[/FONT]

A lot of people people still don’t believe in climate change](
But WHY?! We’ve got facts](, we’ve got figures, we’ve got freaking superstorms swamping major cities every couple of years.
Why* is* it so difficult for people]( to get climate change through their thick skulls?!
To this question, Joe Hanson of It’s Okay to Be Smart]( offers up a handful of answers, beginning with those thick skulls.
It turns out that we are stuck with Stone Age instincts, while trying to tackle the heady problems of the Machine Age.
For instance, take our Paleolithic bias toward more immediate threats or our persistent optimism (“surely that saber cat won’t eat me!”).
Plus, our reserves of abstract worry are probably a non-renewable resource — you can only hear “climate change”
so many times before you start to tune it out, along with “federal deficit” and “you should really floss daily.”
But here’s another precept to keep in mind: “Know thine enemy,” especially if the enemy in question is your own brain.
Watch the video for more.

Greenland Ice Sheet

M. Tedesco1,2, J. E. Box3, J. Cappelen4, X. Fettweis5, T. Mote6,
R. S. W. van de Wal7, C. J. P. P. Smeets7, J. Wahr8

**1City College of New York, New York, NY, USA
2National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA, USA
3Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Copenhagen, Denmark
4Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
5University of Liege, Liege, Belgium
6Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA
7Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
8Department of Physics and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA **

January 12, 2015


· Melt extent, above the 1981-2010 average for 90% of summer 2014, reached a maximum of 39.3% of the ice sheet area on 17 June 2014. The number of days of melting in June and July 2014 exceeded the 1981-2010 average over most of the ice sheet.
· Average surface mass balance (the difference between annual snow accumulation and annual melting) measured along the K-transect in west Greenland for the period 2013-2014 was slightly below the 1990-2010 average, while the equilibrium line altitude (~1,730 m a.s.l., the lowest altitude at which winter snow survived) was at a higher elevation than the 1990-2010 average of 1,545 m.
· Average albedo during summer 2014 was the second lowest in the period of record that began in 2000; a new record low albedo occurred in August 2014.
· Summer 2014 in Greenland was the warmest on record at Kangerlussuaq, west Greenland, where the average June temperature was 2.3°C above the 1981-2010 average. In January 2014, the average temperature at Illoqqortoormiut, east Greenland and Upernavik, west Greenland were 7.5°C and 8.7°C above the 1981-2010 means, respectively.
· The ice mass anomaly (relative to the average for 2002-2014) of -6 Gt between June 2013 and June 2014 was negligible compared to all previous years since observations began in 2002, and particularly with respect to 2012-2013 when the largest mass loss (-474 Gt) in the GRACE record occurred (Note](
With an area of 1.71 million km2 and volume of 2.85 km3, the Greenland ice sheet is the second largest glacial ice mass on Earth. Only the Antarctic ice sheet is larger. The freshwater stored in the Greenland ice sheet has a sea level equivalent of +7.4 m. The discharge of the ice to the ocean my melting and runoff, and iceberg calving would not only increase sea level, but also likely alter the ocean thermohaline circulation and global climate. The high albedo (reflectivity) of the ice sheet surface (together with that of snow-covered and bare sea ice, and snow on land) plays an important role in the regional surface energy balance and the regulation of global air temperatures.
Surface Melting

Estimates of the spatial extent of melting across the Greenland ice sheet (Fig. 3.1), derived from brightness temperatures measured by the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMI/S) passive microwave radiometer (e.g., Mote 2007, Tedesco et al. 2013a, 2013b), show that melt extent for the period June through August (JJA, hereafter referred to as the summer) 2014 was above the 1981-2010 average 90% of the time (83 of 92 days, Fig. 3.1d). Melting occurred over 4.3% more of the ice sheet, on average, than in summer 2013, but 12.8% less than the exceptional summer of 2012 (Fig. 3.1d). Melt extent exceeded two standard deviations above average, reaching a maximum of 39.3% of the total ice sheet area on 17 June (Fig. 3.1b). Similar values occurred on 9 July and 26 July (Fig. 3.1c). Melt extent exceeded the 1981-2010 average on 28 days in June, 25 days in July, and 20 days in August 2014. For a brief period in early August there was below average melt extent, but by 21 August melting areas covered 29.3% of the ice sheet; this exceeded the 1981-2010 average by two standard deviations.

Fig. 3.1. Melting on the Greenland Ice Sheet in 2014 as described by (a, top left) total number of days when melting was detected at the surface between 1 January and 1 October, 2014; (b, top center) June melt anomaly expressed as the number of days melting that month compared to the 1981-2010 average; (c, top right) July melt anomaly expressed as the number of days melting that month compared to the 1981-2010 average; and (d, bottom) the annual cycle of melt extent expressed as a fraction of the total ice sheet area where melting was detected. In (d), melt extent in 2014 is represented by the blue line and the long-term average is the black line. Black star in (a, top left) indicates the position of the K-transect (discussed in the surface mass balance section).
The number of days of surface melting in June and July 2014 exceeded the 1981-2010 average across most of the ice sheet (Figs. 3.1b and 3.1c), particularly on the western margin, consistent with the above normal temperatures recorded at coastal stations in western Greenland in June and July. Locations with below average days of melting were evident in southeast Greenland (Figs. 3.1b and 3.1c), consistent with below normal temperatures in that region (see Fig. 1.3d in the essay on Air Temperature](, which shows lower temperatures in southeast Greenland than along the western margin of the ice sheet).
Surface Mass Balance

Average surface mass balance (the difference between annual snow accumulation and annual melting) measured along the K-transect in West Greenland (Van de Wal et al. 2005, 2012) for the period 2013-2014 was slightly below the mean for 1990-2010 (measurements began in 1990; thus it is not possible to use the standard 1981-2010 reference period) (Fig. 3.2a). The equilibrium line altitude (the lowest altitude at which winter snow survives), estimated to be 1,730 m above sea level [a.s.l.] in 2014, was at a higher elevation than the 1990-2010 mean (1,545 m). During summer 2014, melt rates below the equilibrium line were not as high as they were in some recent years, e.g., 2010 and 2012.

Fig. 3.2. (a, top) Surface mass balance as a function of elevation along the K-transect for 2013-2014 (large blue squares), the previous four years, and the 20-year (1990-2010) average. (b, bottom) Average surface mass balance for sites located between 400 m and 1500 m a.s.l. A linear regression (red line) of the data gives a correlation coefficient ® of 0.46 (significant at a 97.5% confidence level).
Figure 3.2a shows the mass balance profiles for the last five years and the long-term mean obtained from stations at different elevations. Figure 3.2b shows the average surface mass balance for sites between 400 m and 1500 m a.s.l altitude, and the corresponding linear trend. There was slightly more melt in 2013-2014 than the 1990-2010 average; 2013-2014 had the 7th most negative mass balance of the 24 consecutive mass balance years in the observational record. The trend in the mean mass balance over the ablation area is -3.3 cm per year.
Total Ice Mass

GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite gravity solutions are used to estimate monthly changes in the total mass of the Greenland ice sheet (Velicogna and Wahr 2006; Fig. 3.3). At the time of writing, data were available only through June 2014. Between the beginning of June 2013 and the beginning of June 2014, which corresponds closely to the period between the onsets of the 2013 and 2014 melt seasons, there was virtually no net change in cumulative ice sheet mass (Fig. 3.3). The very small 6 Gt (Gigatonne) loss during that 12 month period contrasts with the previous eleven consecutive years of large losses, and particularly with the 474 Gt mass loss between June 2012 and June 2013, the highest annual loss observed in the GRACE record (Note](

Fig. 3.3. Monthly mass anomalies (in Gigatonnes, Gt) for the Greenland ice sheet since April 2002 estimated from GRACE measurements. The anomalies are expressed as departures from the 2002-2014 mean value for each month. For reference, orange asterisks denote June values (or May for those years when June is missing).
Ice Albedo

Albedo, also referred to as reflectivity, is the ratio of reflected solar radiation to total incoming solar radiation. Here it is derived from the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS, after Box et al. 2012). In summer 2014, albedo was below average over most of the ice sheet (Fig. 3.4a) and the area-averaged albedo for the entire ice sheet was the second lowest in the period of record that began in 2000 (Fig. 3.4b). The area-averaged albedo in August was the lowest on record for that month (Fig. 3.4c). August 2014 albedo values were particularly low at high elevations; such low values have not previously been observed so late in the summer. The observed albedo in summer 2014 continues a period of increasingly negative and record low albedo anomaly values (Box et al. 2012, Tedesco et al. 2011, 2013a, Dumont et al. 2014).

Fig. 3.4. (a, top) Greenland ice sheet surface albedo anomaly for June, July and August (JJA, summer) 2014 relative to the average for those months between 2000 and 2011. (b, lower left) Average surface albedo of the ice sheet each summer between 2000 and 2014. (c, lower right) Average surface albedo of the ice sheet each August between 2000 and 2014. All data are derived from the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS).

Slightly negative (-0.7) North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) conditions in summer 2014 promoted abnormal anticyclonic conditions over southwest and northwest Greenland; these favored northward advection of warm air along its western margin as far as the northern regions of the ice sheet (see Fig. 1.3d in the essay on Air Temperature]( Further, the anticyclonic conditions reduced summer precipitation (snowfall) over south Greenland. The combination of southerly air flow and lower precipitation contributed to the melting, mass balance and albedo observations reported above.
The advection of warm air towards Greenland is reflected in summer air temperatures. Near surface air temperature data recorded by automatic weather stations (Table 3.1) indicate that summer 2014 in Greenland was the warmest on record at Kangerlussuaq, west Greenland, with June temperatures +2.3°C above the 1981-2010 average. Other west Greenland locations also had anomalously warm summer temperatures. For example, the coastal site of Nuuk had its second warmest summer since 1784, with July temperatures 2.9°C above the 1981-2010 mean.
Warming in winter is greater than in summer (Table 3.1). At Ittoqqortoormiut, east Greenland, where observations began in 1924, the average air temperature during December 2013 to February 2014 equalled the record high set in the same period in 1947, and January temperatures were 7.5°C above the 1981-2010 average. Upernavik, west Greenland, had its 7th warmest January, 8.7°C above the 1981-2010 average, since observations began in 1873.
Table 3.1. Near-surface temperature anomalies relative to the 1981-2010 average at thirteen stations distributed around Greenland. Standard deviation (SD) values, and the years when record maximum and minimum values occurred are also given. Data are from Cappelen (2014) and from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) for the period January-August 2014.

Note: The more positive or more negative the standard deviation (SD) value, the more extreme the positive or negative temperature anomaly. For example, at Ittoqqortoormiut, where winter 2014 was as warm as the previous warmest winter on record, in 1947, the SD value (2.4) of the winter 2014 temperature anomaly is among the most positive in the table.
Abbreviations: SON: September, October, November; DJF: December, January, February; MAM: March, April, May; JJA: June, July, August.

Box, J. E., X. Fettweis, J. C. Stroeve, M. Tedesco, D. K. Hall, and K. Steffen, 2012: Greenland ice sheet albedo feedback: thermodynamics and atmospheric drivers. The Cryosphere, 6, 821-839, doi:10.5194/tc-6-821-2012.
Cappelen, J. (ed.), 2014: Greenland - DMI Historical Climate Data Collection 1784-2013, Denmark, The Faroe Islands and Greenland. Danish Meteorol. Inst. Tech. Rep., 14-04, 90 pp.](
Dumont, M., E. Brun, G. Picard, M. Michou, Q. Libois, J. R. Petit, M. Geyer, S. Morin, and B. Josse, 2014: Contribution of light-absorbing impurities in snow to Greenland’s darkening since 200. Nature Geoscience, 7, 509-512, doi:10.1038/ngeo2180.
Mote, T., 2007: Greenland surface melt trends 1973-2007: Evidence of a large increase in 2007. Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L22507.
Tedesco, M., X. Fettweis, M. R. van den Broeke, R. S. W. van de Wal, W. J. van Berg, M. C. Serreze, and J. E. Box, 2011: The role of albedo and accumulation in the 2010 melting record in Greenland. Environ. Res. Lett., 6, 014005, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/6/1/014005.
Tedesco, M., X. Fettweis, T. Mote, J. Wahr, P. Alexander, J. E. Box, and B. Wouters, 2013a: Evidence and analysis of 2012 Greenland records from spaceborne observations, a regional climate model and reanalysis data. The Cryosphere, 7, 615-630, doi:10.5194/tc-7-615-2013.
Tedesco, M., J. E. Box, J. Cappelen, X. Fettweis, T. Jensen, T. Mote, A. K. Rennermalm, L. C. Smith, R. S. W. van de Wal, and J. Wahr. 2013b: [Arctic] Greenland ice sheet [in “State of the Climate in 2012”]. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 94 (8), S121-S123.
Van de Wal, R. S. W., W. Greuell, M. R. van den Broeke, C.H. Reijmer, and J. Oerlemans, 2005: Surface mass-balance observations and automatic weather station data along a transect near Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland. Ann. Glaciol., 42, 311-316.
Van de Wal, R. S. W., W. Boot, C. J. P. P. Smeets, H. Snellen, M. R. van den Broeke, and J. Oerlemans, 2012; Twenty-one years of mass balance observations along the K-transect, West-Greenland. Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 4, 31-35, doi:10.5194/essd-4-31-2012.
Velicogna, I. and J. Wahr. 2006: Significant acceleration of Greenland ice mass loss in spring, 2004: Nature, 443, doi:10.1038/nature05168.

I could never read all that! My ADD sets in…LOL!

The read this:

Hype is hype.

At least you looked and this makes nick Happy another hit .

The Head line gives the whole story