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The 1988–2003 Greenland ice sheet melt extent using passive microwave satellite data and a regional climate model

Abstract : Measurements from ETH-Camp and JAR1 AWS (West Greenland) as well as coupled atmosphere-snow regional climate simulations have highlighted flaws in the cross-polarized gradient ratio (XPGR) technique used to identify melt from passive microwave satellite data. It was found that dense clouds (causing notably rainfall) on the ice sheet severely perturb the XPGR melt signal. Therefore, the original XPGR melt detection algorithm has been adapted to better incorporate atmospheric variability over the ice sheet and an updated melt trend for the 1988–2003 period has been calculated. Compared to the original algorithm, the melt zone area increase is eight times higher (from 0.2 to 1.7% year−1). The increase is higher with the improved XPGR technique because rainfall also increased during this period. It is correlated to higher atmospheric temperatures. Finally, the model shows that the total ice sheet runoff is directly proportional to the melt extent surface detected by satellites. These results are important for the understanding of the effect of Greenland melting on the stability of the thermohaline circulation.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 10:30:31 AM
Last modification on : Friday, September 25, 2020 - 9:16:02 AM

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Xavier Fettweis, Hubert Gallée, Filip Lefebre, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele. The 1988–2003 Greenland ice sheet melt extent using passive microwave satellite data and a regional climate model. Climate Dynamics, Springer Verlag, 2006, 27 (5), pp.531 à 541. ⟨10.1007/s00382-006-0150-8⟩. ⟨insu-00375466⟩

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