Greenland albedo rebounds from snowfall but is again followed by widespread high air temperatures
by Jason Box, Melt Factor, August 1, 2012
In the latest update of daily Greenland reflectivity (a.k.a., albedo) observed by the NASA MODIS sensors, we see the effect of fresh snow brightening the ice sheet surface after the extreme low albedo in mid-July 2012. Late July’s reflectivity remains below other years in the observational record since 2000 and the values are trending lower again because of the darkening effect of near-surface air temperatures reported for July 24-31 being near or above the melting point, according to ground observations maintained by Konrad Steffen, director of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research. The earlier high melt area episode was July 11-15, 2012.
If the July 24-31 high temperatures are on par with those from July 11-15, 2012, and if there is not another summer snowfall at the higher elevations of the ice sheet, I’d expect the albedos to decline further, reaching say 65.5% in the coming days.
These results are after the externally-reviewed publication Box et al. (2012) -- citation below.
- Box, J. E., Fettweis, X., Stroeve, J. C., Tedesco, M., Hall, D. K., and Steffen, K.: Greenland ice sheet albedo feedback: thermodynamics and atmospheric drivers, The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 593-634, doi:10.5194/tcd-6-593-2012, 2012. DOWNLOAD LATEST ACCEPTED VERSION