Updated 2008 Surface Snowmelt Trends in Antarctica


  • Marco Tedesco

    1. Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, City College of New York
    2. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
    3. Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County
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Surface snowmelt in Antarctica in 2008, as derived from spaceborne passive microwave observations at 19.35 gigahertz, was 40% below the average of the period 1987–2007. The melting index (MI, a measure of where melting occurred and for how long) in 2008 was the second-smallest value in the 1987–2008 period, with 3,465,625 square kilometers times days (km2 x days) against the average value of 8,407,531 km2 x days (Figure 1a). Melt extent (ME, the extent of the area subject to melting) in 2008 set a new minimum with 297,500 square kilometers, against an average value of approximately 861,812 square kilometers. The 2008 updated melting index and melt extent trends over the whole continent, as derived from a linear regression approach, are −164,487 km2 x days per year (MI) and −11,506 square kilometers per year (ME), respectively.