Extreme Snowmelt in Northern Greenland During Summer 2008



Extreme snowmelt occurred during summer 2008 over the northern part of the Greenland ice sheet, according to the analysis of microwave data recorded by the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) on board the F13 satellite of the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). New records of the number of melting days were also observed over large portions of the same areas (letters A and B in Figure 1).

Anomalies of the 2008 number of melting days (i.e., the difference between the 2008 number of melting days and the 1979–2007 average) are reported in Figure 1. In 2008, melting in northern Greenland lasted up to 18 days longer than previous maximum values, and the melting index (i.e., the number of melting days × the area subject to melting) was 3 times greater than the 1979–2007 average, with 1.545×106 square kilometers x days. Also of noticeable value are 2008 anomalies observed along Greenland's west coast, with melting over this area lasting up to 5–10 days longer than the average (letter C in Figure 1).