University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Scott Polar Research Institute - Physical Sciences Seminar > Darker, wetter and faster: recent and projected trends of mass balance over the Greenland ice sheet and linkages to surface and sub-surface processes

Darker, wetter and faster: recent and projected trends of mass balance over the Greenland ice sheet and linkages to surface and sub-surface processes

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Over the recent years, runoff and melting over Greenland have been increasing, confirming a long-term statistically significant trend and suggesting negative surface mass balance in the close future. Moreover, many glaciers along the edges have been retreating and thinning at higher elevations. New records were set in 2010 and close-to-record in 2011 for surface melt and albedo, runoff, the number of days when bare ice was exposed and surface mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet, especially over its west and southwest regions. Analyzing the causes and implications of these recently observed extremes and records is crucial to properly project the behavior of the Greenland ice sheet in future climate scenarios. In this talk I analyze recent and projected trends of surface mass balance over the Greenland ice sheet. I focus on some of the major causes and drivers of these events through a combination of remote sensing tools, fieldwork data and outputs of a regional climate model. In particular, I will show results from our fieldwork expeditions focusing on albedo changes, I will discuss the impact of supraglacial lakes on ice flow velocities and ice sheet dynamics, the role of accumulation and I will assess the impact of the biological activity on Greenlands ice.

This talk is part of the Scott Polar Research Institute - Physical Sciences Seminar series.

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