Record 2007 Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt Extent and Runoff



Record surface melting from the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) occurred in 2007, according to observations [Mote, 2007; Tedesco, 2007]. The surface melting and freshwater runoff contribution are of considerable importance to, for example, the global eustatic sea level rise and the ocean salinity.

Remote locations and harsh climatic conditions are commonly cited as reasons for the lack of knowledge about the snow and ice contained within Greenland. Modeling studies incorporating available data sets are valuable resources in illuminating GrIS melting and runoff changes. Snow-Model [Liston and Elder, 2006a, 2006b], a snow evolution modeling system simulating snow-related physical processes, was used to model the GrIS surface water balance, including spatial variations in snow accumulation and redistribution, snowmelt and ice melt, and water balance components such as runoff (see equation below for further information), on the GrIS for 1995–2007. If snow temperature is below freezing, any percolating or liquid water refreezes and is stored in the snow (in the “pores”) as internal accumulation. This provides a method to account for heat and mass transfer processes, such as snowpack ripening, during spring melt.