Unprecedented May heat in Greenland; update on 2011 Greenland ice melt

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:53 PM GMT on May 31, 2012

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The record books for Greenland's climate were re-written on Tuesday, when the mercury hit 24.8°C (76.6°F) at Narsarsuaq, Greenland, on the southern coast. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, this is the hottest temperature on record in Greenland for May, and is just 0.7°C (1.3°F) below the hottest temperature ever measured in Greenland. The previous May record was 22.4°C (72.3°F) at Kangerlussuaq (called Sondre Stormfjord in Danish) on May 31, 1991. The 25.2°C at Narsarsuaq on June 22, 1957 is the only June temperature measured in Greenland warmer than yesterday's 24.8°C reading. Wunderground's extremes page shows that the all-time warmest temperature record for Greenland is 25.5°C (77.9°F) set on July 26, 1990. The exceptional warmth this week was caused by the combination of an intense ridge of high pressure and a local foehn wind, said the Danish Meteorological Institute. The unusual May heat has extended to Scotland, which had its hottest May temperature on record on May 25 at Achnagart: 29.3°C (85°F). Greenland's Narsarsuaq has seen a string of 3 consecutive days over 70°F this week--the 3rd, 7th, and 12th warmest days there since record keeping began in 1941. The ridge of high pressure responsible is expected to stay in place several more days, bringing additional 70° days over Southern Greenland. The warm May temperatures could be setting the stage for a big Greenland melt season this summer--the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) is predicting a 50 - 60% that the southern 2/3 of Greenland will experience above-average temperatures this summer. They forecast just a 10 - 15% chance of below-average temperatures.


Figure 1. Difference between the number of melt days in 2011 and the average number of melt days during the period 1979 - 2010. Large sections of the island experienced twenty more days with melting conditions than average. Image credit: Arctic Report Card

Why Greenland is important
If the massive icecap on Greenland were to melt, global sea level would rise 7 meters (23 ft). Temperatures in Greenland are predicted to rise 3°C by 2100, to levels similar to those present during that warm period 120,000 years ago. During that period, roughly half of the Greenland ice sheet melted, increasing sea level by 2.2 - 3.4 meters (7.2 - 11.2 ft.) However, the 2007 IPCC report expects melting of the Greenland ice sheet to occur over about a 1,000 year period, delaying much of the expected sea level rise for many centuries. While Greenland's ice isn't going to be melting completely and catastrophically flooding low-lying areas of the earth in the next few decades (sea level is only rising about 3 mm per year or 1.2 inches per decade at present), the risk later this century needs to be taken seriously. Higher sea levels will cause increased erosion, salt water intrusion, and storm surge damage in coastal areas, in addition to a loss of barrier formations such as islands, sand bars, and reefs that would normally protect coastal zones from battering by waves and wind. Additionally, coastal zones are sites of incredible economic and agricultural activity, which would also be negatively affected by higher sea levels. Currently, melting ice from Greenland is thought to cause about 0.7 mm/year of global sea level rise, which is about 20 - 25% of the global total, according to an international research group led by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, in an article published the latest issue of Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 1 June 2012. In 2007, the IPCC estimated that Greenland ice melt was responsible for only 10 - 15% of the total global sea level rise. Ice loss in Greenland is accelerating, and if current ice loss trends continue for the next ten years, Greenland's contribution to sea level rise will double to 1.4 mm/yr by 2022. The increased ice loss in Greenland is being driven by a combination of warmer air temperatures, warmer ocean temperatures, and loss of Arctic sea ice. Ocean temperatures surrounding Southern Greenland have increased by 1 - 2°C since 1990 (figure at right.)

Figure 2. Monthly unsmoothed values of the total mass (in gigatons, Gt), of the Greenland ice sheet from the GRACE satellites. On the horizontal axis, each year begins on 1 January. Each small + symbol is a monthly value. Between 2003 - 2009, Greenland lost an average of 250 gigatons of ice per year. In 2011, the loss was 70% greater than that. Image credit: Arctic Report Card

Update on the 2011 Greenland melt season
According to the 2011 Arctic Report Card, it was another very warm year in Greenland in 2011, which led to substantial melting of the ice. Here are some of the highlights from the report:

1) The area and duration of melting at the surface of the Greenland ice sheet in summer 2011 were the third highest since 1979.

2) Increased surface melting and below average summer snowfall in recent years has made the icecap steadily darker. In 2011, the icecap had the lowest reflectivity (albedo) of any year since satellite measurements of reflectivity began in 2000.

3) The area of glaciers that empty into the sea continued to decrease, though at less than half the rate of the previous 10 years.

4) Total ice sheet mass loss in 2011 was 70% larger than the 2003 - 2009 average annual loss rate of -250 gigatons per year. According to satellite gravity data obtained since 2002, ice sheet mass loss is accelerating.

Resources:
Wunderground's Greenland page.
Wunderground's sea level rise page.
Danish Meteorological Institute's extremes page for Greenland.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Or can we...?

31/2132 UTC 14.0N 125.7E T2.0/2.0 04W -- West Pacific

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
2.0 /1006.9mb/ 30.0kt
Well that estimate is 4hrs old...
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Looks likes there's something BEHIND our Tropical Depression maybe trying to brew as well.

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Quoting NJcat3cane:
hows severe weather chances looking for south new jersey tomorrow?

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32024
Oh boy... LWX don't play with the day before discussion...


ONCE THE WARM FRONT IS THROUGH...CWA WILL BE WARM-SECTORED AHEAD OF
A COLD FRONT APPROACHING FROM THE WEST. 12Z NAM/GFS POSITION THE
FRONT OVER WESTERN/CENTRAL OHIO AT 12Z FRIDAY WITH 999/1000 MB LOW
PRESSURE JUST WEST OF CLEVELAND. TSTMS WILL DEVELOP ALONG THE FRONT
AS IT PUSHES EASTWARD. FAVORABLE SEVERE PARAMETERS WILL BE IN PLACE
OVER OUR CWA. FORECAST SBCAPE AROUND 1000-2000 J/KG WILL BE PLENTY
TO TRIGGER STORMS...AND SHEAR WILL INCREASE AS A NEGATIVELY-TILTED
UPPER TROUGH APPROACHES. HELICITY ON DULLES AIRPORT NAM SOUNDING
APPROACHES 200 M2/S2 BY 21Z. SPC MAINTAINS SLIGHT RISK FOR SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS OVER THE REGION...WITH POTENTIAL FOR DAMAGING
WINDS...LARGE HAIL AND TORNADOES.
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hows severe weather chances looking for south new jersey tomorrow?
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Quoting KoritheMan:


It might just be me, but the JMA seems a lot more conservative. Probably due to their systematic use of wind speeds (10 minute).


I agree. I also hate the fact that they DO use 10 minute sustained winds because most people have no clue how to convert it to 1 minute sustained, me included.
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577. JLPR2
Quoting KoritheMan:
Poll time:

Taking advantage of the current lull, should I start writing my TCRs now, or wait until the winter?

A: Now
B: Winter
C: Don't do them because you're an idiot


D. What lull? Time before the official start of the hurricane season counts as a lull? XD
And I will also go with A.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
Poll time:

Taking advantage of the current lull, should I start writing my TCRs now, or wait until the winter?

A: Now
B: Winter
C: Don't do them because you're an idiot
A I like your reports.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Good for you.


I know, right?
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Who forecast Beryl from its inception to its demise? It sure wasn't you. ;)

Good for you.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32024
Quoting cyclonekid:
**REPOST**

Some things to take into consideration:

1. Even though JMA is the official agency in the Western Pacific, it doesn't mean that the Joint Typhoon Warning Center won't classify this as a tropical storm say in about 30-45 minutes from now.

2. When this depression gains Tropical Storm strength (via the Japan Meteorological Agency), the name given will be Mawar.



It might just be me, but the JMA seems a lot more conservative. Probably due to their systematic use of wind speeds (10 minute).
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Quoting KoritheMan:
Poll time:

Taking advantage of the current lull, should I start writing my TCRs now, or wait until the winter?

A: Now
B: Winter
C: Don't do them because you're an idiot


D. Some now, then get distracted and not finish until winter. That's how I'd end up doing it! -__-
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**REPOST**

Some things to take into consideration:

1. Even though JMA is the official agency in the Western Pacific, it doesn't mean that the Joint Typhoon Warning Center won't classify this as a tropical storm say in about 30-45 minutes from now.

2. When this depression gains Tropical Storm strength (via the Japan Meteorological Agency), the name given will be Mawar.

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Hey >:| I'm doing just fine!


Who forecast Beryl from its inception to its demise? It sure wasn't you. ;)
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Quoting KoritheMan:


You mean like you promised daily blogs this year? >_>

Hey >:| I'm doing just fine!
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32024
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

A.

That's what I plan to do.


You mean like you promised daily blogs this year? >_>
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Quoting KoritheMan:
Poll time:

Taking advantage of the current lull, should I start writing my TCRs now, or wait until the winter?

A: Now
B: Winter
C: Don't do them because you're an idiot

A.

That's what I plan to do.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32024
Quoting KoritheMan:


I still stand by what I said. It probably is a tropical storm now, but I've seen tropical cyclones look better than this, with centers seemingly under the convection, only to find out that isn't the case.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32024
Poll time:

Taking advantage of the current lull, should I start writing my TCRs now, or wait until the winter?

A: Now
B: Winter
C: Don't do them because you're an idiot
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TD Four-W

ZCZC 317
WTPQ20 RJTD 010000
RSMC TROPICAL CYCLONE ADVISORY
NAME TD
ANALYSIS
PSTN 010000UTC 13.4N 126.8E POOR
MOVE NW 07KT
PRES 1002HPA
MXWD 030KT

GUST 045KT
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Rain for me!!:)
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562. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
RSMC Tokyo ADT

2012JUN01
0100AM 01JUN
T3.6
982hPa
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 45301
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Hey! I never said that. I wholeheartedly believe it is a tropical storm right now, but it won't be declared one officially because of those satellite estimate numbers.


I still stand by what I said. It probably is a tropical storm now, but I've seen tropical cyclones look better than this, with centers seemingly under the convection, only to find out that isn't the case.
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Galvestonhurricane- have you read any.of the studies of how the ocean is becoming over saturated with co2 or how the levels of cold dense waters in the oceans are decreasing rapidly? Frankly, I do not understand why we even debate whether or not man is causitive...time is too critical for all the ego based posturing...take no chances with the futures of our children and grandchildren...err on the side of caution....at the very least we get a cleaner environment...at the most..maybe we slow down climate change until science has solutions...
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01:01 UTC

WP042012 - Tropical Depression FOUR

Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128261
Quoting KoritheMan:


Like Cody said, don't put too much stock in a satellite image.

Hey! I never said that. I wholeheartedly believe it is a tropical storm right now, but it won't be declared one officially because of those satellite estimate numbers.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32024
Quoting yqt1001:
Updated vis image from about 30 minutes ago.



I think we can agree, this isn't a TD anymore. :P


Like Cody said, don't put too much stock in a satellite image.
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556. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #7
TROPICAL DEPRESSION 04
9:00 AM JST June 1 2012
=================================

SUBJECT: Tropical Depression In Sea East Of The Philippines

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression (1002 hPa) located at 13.4N 126.8E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported as moving northwest at 7 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

Forecast and Intensity
=========================

24 HRS: 16.8N 125.8E - 40 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 45301
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128261
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Or can we...?

31/2132 UTC 14.0N 125.7E T2.0/2.0 04W -- West Pacific

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
2.0 /1006.9mb/ 30.0kt


And the official agency at WPAC JMA still has not upgraded to TS.

WTPQ20 RJTD 010000
RSMC TROPICAL CYCLONE ADVISORY
NAME TD
ANALYSIS
PSTN 010000UTC 13.4N 126.8E POOR
MOVE NW 07KT
PRES 1002HPA
MXWD 030KT
GUST 045KT
FORECAST
24HF 020000UTC 16.8N 125.8E 120NM 70%
MOVE NNW 09KT
PRES 996HPA
MXWD 040KT
GUST 060KT =
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Since the Hurricane Season is based on Zulu time, the Atlantic Hurricane Season 2012 has officially started.


Whoo-Hoo

started 2 weeks ago as far as I am concerned.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5808
Quoting yqt1001:
Updated vis image from about 30 minutes ago.



I think we can agree, this isn't a TD anymore. :P

Or can we...?

31/2132 UTC 14.0N 125.7E T2.0/2.0 04W -- West Pacific

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
2.0 /1006.9mb/ 30.0kt
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32024
Updated vis image from about 30 minutes ago.



I think we can agree, this isn't a TD anymore. :P
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WP042012 - Tropical Depression FOUR



Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128261
Convection is trying to wrap around...



Once it does, RI usually is guaranteed (eyewall complete) unless it hits a wall of bad conditions. Will be a tiny eye though.
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Quoting yqt1001:


A 70-mph rare pre-season near hurricane hit the US? What a bust season!


Clearly you are unfamiliar with sarcasm
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Quoting chrisdscane:


is that upper or lower level low?


It looks more like a decaying trough to me.
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Quoting weatherh98:


Ik I was kidding haha


Of course, but it's a brand new MW image that I had to show anyways. :P
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Quoting watercayman:


Thanks

No problem.

Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Check their release on the CSU site betweenn 10-11 AM EDT.

Alright.

Quoting CybrTeddy:


I imagine it will go up at least two named than what they where last predicting.

Yeah. I think I'll release my updated forecast tomorrow.

Quoting nigel20:

Hey TA...do you think they'll increase their numbers?

Yes I do.

Quoting ncstorm:


look like the models are trending towards warm core..its been edging ever so slightly towards the warm core



and wasnt Alberto and beryl intialized by the models as cold core as well?

Alberto and Beryl were initialized as warm core.

Quoting naviguesser:


Sorry - wrong blog - lost my head... ;-0

No need to apologize. :)

Quoting Articuno:

Hey TWX13, how you doin?

I'm fine. Ready for the potential Severe Weather event tomorrow. You?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32024
Quoting hydrus:
This would have been big trouble if the atmospheric conditions were right..


is that upper or lower level low?
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Quoting yqt1001:


An eye is trying to form, will be small but not that small...



It's on the northern edge of the convective mass.


Ik I was kidding haha
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6493
Probably a monster in the making right here...

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7779
Quoting weatherh98:


Is that a pinhole from the RI? : )


An eye is trying to form, will be small but not that small...



It's on the northern edge of the convective mass.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
4W at time of first warning a few hours ago



Now



Is that a pinhole from the RI? : )
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6493
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

No major hurricanes yet? What a bust season!


A 70-mph rare pre-season near hurricane hit the US? What a bust season!
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
According to WU, it's hurricane season now UTC time.

Break out the Fresca's, popcorn, HeadOn, troll spray, iggy button, because THE 2012 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON
has arrived.

Naming list:
* Alberto (used)
* Beryl (used)
* Chris
* Debby
* Ernesto
* Florence
* Gordon
* Helene
* Issac
* Joyce
* Kirk
* Leslie
* Michael
* Nadine
* Oscar
* Patty
* Rafael
* Sandy
* Tony
* Valerie
* William.

The current total stands at 2-0-0.

No major hurricanes yet? What a bust season!
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7779
This would have been big trouble if the atmospheric conditions were right..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21189
Inre 527 aspectre... NorthAmerica doesn't look reasonable even then. A 300metre(1,000foot) sea-level rise would connect the Gulf of Mexico with LakeOntario (or rather the new OntarioSea), turning the the US EastCoast into an island* separate from the continent.
The OntarioSea would also connect with the HudsonBay, creating a new island* out of Quebec and areas northward and eastward.

* ie the areas at least 1,000feet above sea-level in the presentday.
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I don't know about you guys, but I wanna see another active western Pacific typhoon season again. Not this 18 storm crap. The Atlantic has nearly tied or beaten that in the last couple years. Pathetic.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
4W at time of first warning a few hours ago



Now



The banding that it has developed is starting make it look like the classic RI setup. The storm starts spinning, the first thing to develop that looks like a strong hurricane is the banding, then the CDO develops and then an eye appears out of nowhere.



We'll see how long it can continue to show these signs though.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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