Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ice darkening in Greenland

Greenland is an immense, glittering expanse of snow and ice. But in recent summers, satellites have been observing less “glitter” from the Northern Hemisphere’s largest ice expanse due to surface melt and other changes caused by warmer temperatures. The summer of 2012 found Greenland darker than it has been since ice-sheet-wide observations began in 2000.

The darkest areas occurred around the perimeter of the island—the lowest elevations, where melting is most significant—but virtually the entire ice sheet showed below-average reflectivity.

Climate Watch Magazine by NOAA

Map by NOAA team, based on NASA MODIS albedo data provided by Jason Box, The Ohio State University. Inset image is from NASA’s Terra satellite, courtesy the LANCE MODIS Rapid Response Project. Reviewed by Jason Box.