Friday, February 18, 2011

Record Melting in Greenland during 2010

2010 was an exceptional year for Greenland’s ice cap. Melting started early and stretched later in the year than usual. Little snow fell to replenish the losses. By the end of the season, much of southern Greenland had set a new record, with melting that lasted 50 days longer than average...
When snow melts, the fine, bright powder turns to larger-grained, gravely snow. These large grains reflect less light, which means that they can absorb more energy and melt even faster. When the annual snow is melted away, parts of the ice cap are exposed. The surface of the ice is also darker than snow. Since dark ice was exposed earlier and longer in 2010, it absorbed more energy, leading to a longer melt season. A fresh coat of summer snow would have protected the ice sheet, but little snow fell.

Melting ice in Greenland freshens the seas near the Arctic and contributes to rising sea levels around the world. It is unclear just how much melting ice from Greenland will push sea levels up, largely because the melting is occurring much more quickly than scientists predicted. Current estimates call for an increase of up to 0.6 meters by 2100.


troutsky said...

"I have a greenhouse at home" said Sen.Greg Hinkle, R-Thompson Falls. "I put dry ice in there to increase the CO2 and it helps to grow the plants a lot. So I'm wondering why is there such a big thing about this CO2 when it actually increases vegetative growth?"

From a debate yesterday in Montana State House.

MT said...

Also and perhaps worse the sea ice at both poles.

"What impresses me is the fact that the independent data sets really match very well. This is a major point and major achievement," said Marco Tedesco, an ice sheet researcher at the City College of New York who was not involved in the study. "We knew that acceleration might occur over both ice sheets. The fact that they are coming out with numbers that are way bigger than the [melting of the] glaciers is very remarkable."