Climate Change & The Cryosphere
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July 2012 Greenland melt extent enhanced by low-level liquid clouds

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This article explains the cause of some recently observed, significant outliers to sea level rise contributions. Across the summer of 2012, spanning nearly the entire Greenland ice sheet, there was a “historically rare period of extended surface melting.” This was found to be largely due to low-level “liquid clouds,” which increased near-surface temperatures by through their radiative effects. These clouds were thick enough and low enough to enhance infrared flux near the surface but also thin enough to allow “sufficient” solar radiation to pass through and raise surface temps above the melting point. These clouds are not uncommon over Greenland and across the Arctic, which makes these findings even more valuable, assisting the difficulties that global climate models have displayed which likely led from underestimation of these thin liquid clouds.

 

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v496/n7443/full/nature12002.html

 

Benartz, R. "July 2012 Greenland Melt Extent Enhanced by Low-level Liquid Clouds." Nature: International Weekly Journal Of Science. N.p., 3 Apr. 2013. Web. 22 June 2014. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nature.com%2Fnature%2Fjournal%2Fv496%2Fn7443%2Ffull%2Fnature12002.html>.

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SOTC: Contribution of the Cryosphere to Changes in Sea Level | National Snow and Ice Data Center

SOTC: Contribution of the Cryosphere to Changes in Sea Level | National Snow and Ice Data Center | Climate Change & The Cryosphere | Scoop.it
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SOTC: Contribution of the Cryosphere to Changes in Sea Level

This article explains that in the past half-century we have begun to observe the first substantial sea level rise (relatively speaking — it’s at about 3mm per year) in the past few thousand years (as the ~21,000 years prior saw gradual, yet major rise following the last ice age), setting out to explain which cryosphere factors may actually be contributing to this. Seasonal snowfall hasn’t been observed to have a net increase over this time and therefore does not contribute to annual net sea level rise. Sea ice/ice shelves are already located in our oceans so they do not have further impact upon melting. The thawing of permafrost (thick, frozen subsurface layer of soil in polar regions) occasionally melts but it is not known at this time how significantly it streams, rivers, and eventually the sea. Alas, glacier melt is thought to be the major and most significant contributor to sea level rise currently and into the future (along with the naturally-occurring ocean thermal expansion). Because thermal expansion has only been seen to produce a sea level rise between 0.42 and 0.69 millimeters per year (from about 1960-2003), and this shifted to a range of 1.6mm and 1.19mm per year by the end of that range, glacier melt is increasingly being monitored and analyzed.


Link: http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/sea_level.html

 

"SOTC: Contribution of the Cryosphere to Changes in Sea Level." SOTC: Contribution of the Cryosphere to Changes in Sea Level. National Snow & Ice Data Center, 6 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 June 2014. <http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/sea_level.html>.

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