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This item was posted on January 22, 2011, and it was categorized as Arctic, Climate Change, Cryosphere, Greenland, glaciers.
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This movie, produced by the Cryospheric Processes Laboratory, consists of stills and video collected during 2009 and 2010. Meltwater is the theme. The vocal is a Shaman Inuit Chant.


Greenland experienced a record amount of melting in 2010.

New records were set during the year for surface melting, runoff of water, the number of days when bare ice was exposed due to melting snow, and the decrease in the total mass of Greenland’s ice sheets, according to a paper published Friday in Environment Research Letters.

NOAA is also out with its annual Arctic report card for 2010, which among other things summarizes what was observed in Greenland this past year:

Greenland climate in 2010 is marked by record-setting high air temperatures, ice loss by melting, and marine-terminating glacier area loss. Summer seasonal average (June-August) air temperatures around Greenland were 0.6 to 2.4°C above the 1971-2000 baseline and were highest in the west. A combination of a warm and dry 2009-2010 winter and the very warm summer resulted in the highest melt rate since at least 1958 and an area and duration of ice sheet melting that was above any previous year on record since at least 1978. The largest recorded glacier area loss observed in Greenland occurred this summer at Petermann Glacier, where 290 km2 of ice broke away. The rate of area loss in marine-terminating glaciers this year (419 km2) was 3.4 times that of the previous 8 years, when regular observations are available. There is now clear evidence that the ice area loss rate of the past decade (averaging 120 km2/year) is greater than loss rates pre-2000.

Juliete Elperin of the Washington Post has a good article about the new findings, with quotes from Marco Tedesco, the ERL paper’s lead author and the director of the Cryosphere Processes Laboratory at the City College of New York.

The events in Greenland are illustrated very clearly in the following graphics. The first one is a modified version of a graphic published in the ERL paper. (I removed one of the graphs and inserted the explanatory text.) The others are from the Arctic Report Card.

Duration of melting of standardized melting index:

Extent of Greenland Ice Sheet Melting in 2010:

Change in area of 35 of Greenland’s widest marine-terminating glacier outlets:

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This thing has 5 Comments

  1. Steve Bloom
    Posted January 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Serendipity worth noting (abstract of Hansen & Sato [2011]):

    “Milankovic climate oscillations help define climate sensitivity and assess potential human-made climate effects. We conclude that Earth in the warmest interglacial periods was less than 1°C warmer than in the Holocene and that goals of limiting human-made warming to 2°C and CO2 to 450 ppm are prescriptions for disaster. Polar warmth in prior interglacials and the Pliocene does not imply that a significant cushion remains between today’s climate and dangerous warming, rather that Earth today is poised to experience strong amplifying polar feedbacks in response to moderate additional warming. Deglaciation, disintegration of ice sheets, is nonlinear, spurred by amplifying feedbacks. If warming reaches a level that forces deglaciation, the rate of sea level rise will depend on the doubling time for ice sheet mass loss. Gravity satellite data, although too brief to be conclusive, are consistent with a doubling time of 10 years or less, implying the possibility of multi-meter sea level rise this century. The emerging shift to accelerating ice sheet mass loss supports our conclusion that Earth’s temperature has returned to at least the Holocene maximum. Rapid reduction of fossil fuel emissions is required for humanity to succeed in preserving a planet resembling the one on which civilization developed.” (emphases added)

    Included is a discussion of why Pfeffer et al. is a poor guide.

  2. Steve Bloom
    Posted January 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    And for the trifecta:

    ‘”The cryospheric albedo feedback is a relatively small player globally, but it’s been a surprisingly strong feedback mechanism over the past 30 years,” Flanner said. “A feedback of this magnitude would translate into roughly 15 percent more warming, given current understanding of other feedback mechanisms.”‘

    Hmm, 15% more. That’s kind of a lot.

  3. spyder
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    An interesting week in world weather with two megastorms hitting heavily-industrialized countries rather than the usual developing ones. The results are the same though. After weeks of flooding in Queensland, the refugees from that nightmare are suddenly thrust out of their makeshift tents and trailers by a force five hurricane. In the US more than 900 people have to abandon their cars on Lake Shore Drive and trudge to somewhere warm asap. Welcome to the future.

  4. Susan Anderson
    Posted February 10, 2011 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Spyder: not to mention Sri Lanka.

    But the denial band plays on, and is gaining in strength as industry studies to deceive.

    I miss these posts, and hope there will be more when time permits.

  5. Posted March 15, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Any one who conducts an argument by appealing to authourity is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.

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  1. Posted January 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    [...] See the article here: Graphics tell the story of record melting in Greenland | CEJournal [...]

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