Greenland becoming darker, warmer as its snow ages and changes shape

‘Blocking’ weather pattern brings less fresh snow and increases ice sheet melt

DARTMOUTH COLLEGE

Research News

IMAGE
IMAGE: DARTMOUTH RESEARCHER GABRIEL LEWIS MEASURES REFLECTIVITY ON GREENLAND’S ICE SHEET DURING A 2016 RESEARCH EXPEDITION. ACCORDING TO A DARTMOUTH RESEARCH PAPER, A REDUCTION IN FRESH SNOWFALL HAS CAUSED PARTS OF… view more CREDIT: PHOTO BY FORREST MCCARTHY

A weather pattern that pushes snowfall away from parts of Greenland’s ice sheet is causing the continent to become darker and warmer, according to Dartmouth research published in Geophysical Research Letters.

The reduction in the amount of fresh, light-colored snow exposes older, darker snow on the surface of the ice sheet. The resulting decrease in reflectivity, known as albedo, causes the ice to absorb more heat, also likely contributing to faster melting.

“As snow ages, even over hours to a few days, you get this reduction in reflectivity, and that’s why the fresh snow is so important,” said Erich Osterberg, associate professor of earth sciences at Dartmouth and the principal investigator of the study.

According to the research, the decrease in snowfall is the result of “atmospheric blocking” in which persistent high-pressure systems hover over the ice sheet for up to weeks at a time. The systems, which have increased over Greenland since the mid-1990s, push snowstorms to the north, hold warmer air over Western Greenland, and reduce light-blocking cloud cover.

“It’s like a triple whammy effect,” Osterberg said. “This all contributes to Greenland melting faster and faster.”

According to the research, the result isn’t only less snowfall, it’s a different type of snow on the surface.

As snowflakes melt or evaporate, they become rounded and less reflective than newer, crystal-shaped snow. This causes the snow surface to become darker. According to the research team, a 1% change in reflectivity across Greenland’s ice sheet could cause an additional 25 gigatons of ice to be lost over three years.

“Fresh snow looks like what you would draw in a kindergarten class or cut from a piece of paper – it’s got all these really sharp points, and that’s because it’s extremely cold in the atmosphere when the snow falls,” said Gabriel Lewis, the first author of the study, who conducted the research as a PhD candidate at Dartmouth. “Once it falls and sits on the surface of the ice sheet in the sun, it changes shape and the snow grains become larger over time.”

The team gathered data for the study during a two-summer 2,700-mile snowmobile trek across a region of Greenland’s ice sheet known as the western percolation zone.

The researchers found only about 1 part per billion of impurities in the snow. This helped them determine that the changing shape of snowflakes, forced by the persistent high-pressure systems, was the likely cause of the darkening, rather than soot, dust, or microorganisms.

“It’s some of the cleanest snow in the world,” said Lewis, “In our research area, the impurities do not appear to be enough to account for the change in albedo other research teams have reported.”

According to research cited in the study, the Greenland ice sheet has warmed about 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.85 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1982. The continent is experiencing the greatest melt and runoff rates in the last 450 years, at a minimum, and likely the greatest rates in the last 7,000 years.

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From EurekAlert!

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Nick Schroeder
May 17, 2021 10:08 am

More albedo and the Earth cools.
Less albedo and the Earth warms.
No albedo and the Earth cooks.
That is NOT what RGHE theory predicts.
Actually, that the albedo cools the earth directly CONTRADICTS RGHE theory!

The earth is cooler with the atmosphere/albedo not warmer.
The “extra” warming energy downwelling from the GHGs theoretically originates with the surface upwelling that “extra” energy as a BB. As demonstrated by experiment, that is not possible.
https://principia-scientific.org/debunking-the-greenhouse-gas-theory-with-a-boiling-water-pot/

If either of these points stands, greenhouse theory fails and man caused climate change collapses.

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dk_
May 17, 2021 10:10 am

“The continent is experiencing the greatest melt and runoff rates in the last 450 years, at a minimum, and likely the greatest rates in the last 7,000 years.”

Does anyone else see that the final sentence is not attributed to anyone in the article, or even the secondary study? Without attribution, this is entirely the work of the publisher, not science, maybe not even the credited writer. Just slant. One of the oldest editorial tricks in the book! It sets the tone for the entire piece, and gains credibility from the rest of the article.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  dk_
May 17, 2021 10:24 am

Good observation … They justify their disingenuous assertions with:

According to research cited in the study …

That citation could be completely at odds with the conclusions of the study, yet the casual reader could rightly assume it has the blessing of the authors.

dk_
Reply to  Rory Forbes
May 17, 2021 10:58 am

Except as written, the phrase does not apply to the last sentence. It just looks like the author read the other study. No where in the article or the public abstract is this other research study actually cited. We do not know if the Dartmouth study authors or participants agreed with either sentence in the last paragraph, just that the author disengenuously claims that Dartmouth endorsed the mythical study’s finding.
If found, it may say exactly that, and the Dartmouth study may agree, but without reference you are expected to believe that last paragraph has the same value as the rest of the piece.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  dk_
May 17, 2021 12:54 pm

I would hazard a guess that there is far more of this sort of “value added”, phony research than one would suspect. From first appearances it seems like something valid has been revealed, as a final word to the piece. On further inspection it’s just more hyperbole and outright lies. Guess which finds its way into the media …

dk_
Reply to  Rory Forbes
May 17, 2021 1:28 pm

I found one such by the same writer and publisher. Summary an link in one of my previously posted comments — probably #4, I’ve lost track. It contained at least one link to another writer and same publisher that supercially seem to make the same deliberate error.

In comments to a post on WUWT, I discussed with another commenter one of the quotes from Center For Biological Diversity’s Jean Su. Later research led me to believe that the Center is closely aligned with Earth.com’s contributors (I was surprised to not find them on Earth’s web page), but is primarily dedicated to environmental and climate propaganda. I found several other quotes by Ms Su, none of which made even notional sense nor claimed any scientific expertise.

Also IMO, performer/personalities like Greta Thunberg and Bill Nye have only the single purpose to create and disseminate this same sort of propaganda.

IMO Organizations like Earth.com exist to publish political ideology like the Center’s, and use organizations such as Duke media relations to lend credibility to their propaganda.

Many such articles re-posted, republished, or linked on WUWT are exactly like this one — propaganda intended to outrage their opponents and incite their base. Seemingly legit “news” (whatever that really is), these can be cited in turn, piled on, compiled, and otherwise spat out as propaganda, by anyone who wishes to impose their like-minded or exploitive views on the rest of us — Including highly placed and elected policy makers and legislators. Foreign economic and nationalist rivals use the same material in much the same way, and IMO, also partly finance, directly and indirectly, both the Center for Biological Diversity and Earthcom

Rory Forbes
Reply to  dk_
May 17, 2021 3:07 pm

You know, one has to wonder just how much of what people believe about AGW and “climate change” has no basis in science at all, but is merely the add on hyperbole by the people you describe. It’s good to read your comments simply to be reminded of how political and contrived (connived?) this whole goat rodeo has been from the start … right back to the dog and pony show staged by Hansen in 1988 and co. for the benefit of congress.

Cheers, I appreciate your work.

dk_
Reply to  Rory Forbes
May 17, 2021 3:52 pm

I claim, without evidence, here and now that 90% of what people fight about is based on propaganda and deliberate media manipulation. If anyone questions my data I will call them bad names and throw things, and possibly even dribble on the floor. So there!

Rory Forbes
Reply to  dk_
May 17, 2021 5:08 pm

I claim, without evidence, here and now that 90% of what people fight about is based on propaganda and deliberate media manipulation.

I’d concur with your assessment. When I press people, who emphatically tell me; “scientists say”, I never fail to ask: “which scientists?”. As you know there’s rarely an answer. They have no idea who is even doing the research, let alone the specific theories.

Having a tantrum and throwing your toys around is, I agree, an interesting approach 🙂

dk_
Reply to  Rory Forbes
May 17, 2021 11:55 pm

“Having a tantrum”
Demonstrated almost daily by the likes of Greta, AOC (and some fellow flockers), Bill Nye, often (when he stops counting his money) Al “Occidental Petroleum” Gore. I’m envious. I wanna do that, too!

Rory Forbes
Reply to  dk_
May 18, 2021 10:40 am

I’m envious. I wanna do that, too!

Nope … sorry, not allowed!

Doonman
Reply to  dk_
May 17, 2021 1:26 pm

But as written, whether attributed to the study or not, it admits that the melt is cyclic and therefore, it must be natural. Because since it happened before, either 450 years ago or 7000 years ago, it could not be attributed to human emissions.

What that means is Greenland’s climate changes naturally. There is no reason to think that natural mechanism is any different today and the article doesn’t suggest that.

What it does suggest is that Dartmouth researchers have a lot of spare money lying around to finance trips to Greenland ice sheets to look for one part per billion impurities in the ice.

dk_
Reply to  Doonman
May 17, 2021 4:19 pm

I am sorry, I am not trying to be rude. My claim is that the last paragraph is not endorsed or claimed by the University scientists or the allegedly cited article. It is demonstrably part of the author/publisher’s ideological platform and not at all based on scientific evidence. I can be convinced a little otherwise, but you have not given me anything to support changing my mind.

Until I do change my mind, I won’t engage in technical criticism of the allegations in the last paragraph. I dismiss them as patently false and until proven otherwise, malevolently motivated.

You have properly, although perhaps inadvertently, corrected a mistake I think I may have made, in discussing the university as other than Dartmouth. Thank you. I may have accidentally instead typed Duke at least once today in this thread.

On your last point, we are close to agreement. Forgive a small rant: I believe that the Dartmouth study and the organizations supporting other co-authors, if any, are financed in part by government grants and endowments, and by grants and endowments from private donors and some or all of the contributors to Earth.org. I believe that some of the donors to Earth.org are or represent foreign nationalist economic rivals who could gain many benefits from disseminating propaganda from that source.

Not arguing with you at all. I just want something solid to discuss.

Doonman
Reply to  dk_
May 17, 2021 7:22 pm

I don’t think you are being rude. I understand your comments. I’m certain Greenland undergoes cyclic climate changes or the Vikings would not have abandoned settlements after living there 400 years.

dk_
May 17, 2021 10:20 am

Second pass
The original release is posted https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-05/dc-gbd051621.php

Eurekalert puts this disclaimer on the bottom of the article after the last line:

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Below that, on Eurekalert list the named media contact with a darmouth.edu e-mail and web side url.

There is no listed author for the piece. No one is visibly, credibly responsible for adding the last bit of non-scientific propaganda to the news release. No one in the article or in the cited study in the same paragraph is said to have made the final claim.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  dk_
May 17, 2021 10:33 am

That, and they’ve elevated Greenland to its own continent…

I’m going to go with a 20-something “senior science editor” with a social sciences degree.

dk_
Reply to  Caligula Jones
May 17, 2021 10:59 am

Read third pass. You get your prize!

Climate believer
May 17, 2021 10:42 am

Not so long ago “the science” said Global Warming™ would increase snowfall over Greenland.

Funny never heard them talking about any “atmospheric blocking”.

#settledscience

Bruce Cobb
May 17, 2021 10:49 am

The continent is experiencing the greatest melt and runoff rates in the last 450 years, at a minimum, and likely the greatest rates in the last 7,000 years.

The source of the preceeding statement appears to be a place where the sun never shines.

dk_
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 17, 2021 11:51 am

I wouldn’t care to make such a personal comment without much undue familiarity, but the author is Chrissy Sexton Earth.com staff writer. Feel free to ask her yourself. Don’t tell her I sent you.

Gary Ashe
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 17, 2021 5:54 pm

Yeah, and you just know his head was all the way up there reading it.

dk_
May 17, 2021 10:51 am

Third pass
The entire identical article is simultaneously publised at Earth.com url: https://www.earth.com/news/lack-of-fresh-snowfall-causes-greenland-to-melt-faster/

On that site, the author is listed:

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Do not click on her name in the earth.com article. The associated url with Chrissy Sexton as of this writing the link is suspicious.

On Earth.com web site https://www.earth.com/staff/, Chrissy’s short self-written bio in-part states:

I am currently studying human services at East Tennessee State University, and previously studied media communications and cyber security.

Two quotes from Earth.com’s “take action save earth” page https://www.earth.com/take-action-save-earth/

What may be less obvious are the human-caused changes to the Earth

that aren’t so beautiful. Oceans are rising and becoming more acidic,

unpredictable weather patterns are emerging, and entire species

are vanishing along with our forests.

and

It is more urgent than ever before that we, as global citizens, take action in educating ourselves on the human and industrial actions that are changing our climate. It is equally important that we do everything we can to conserve the planet that our lives depend upon.

The same page, lists eight of the three pages of organizational contributors to Earth.com, starting with WWF, ending (this page) with NatureServe (Included are images of actual tree hugging). I noted five legal action organizations on the pages I glanced at. Several organizations are associated with claims made in public and in some courts similar in ideology to the two “Take Action” statements obove

I don’t know if the original scientific department at Dartmouth authorized this specific sentence. The abstract and plain language summary at the link make me suspicious, but the author and media department do not cite the source of information. This taints the entire release not as journalism, but as propaganda.

A web search just on a partial text string showed several media organizations besides Eurekalert treating this as if it was news.

Charles Higley
Reply to  dk_
May 17, 2021 4:15 pm

And, the question would be, what is doing the melting? It surely is not air temperature on top of the ice plateau or the not so intense sunlight. Oh, wait, how about the hot spots and rift valley cutting through the island, under the ice? Me thinks that might be a factor. Just saying.

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  dk_
May 17, 2021 8:30 pm

G’Day dk

“… oceans are rising and becoming more acidic …”

Those few words are enough to condemn the entire site.

dk_
Reply to  Tombstone Gabby
May 17, 2021 11:40 pm

TG: G’Day! It does. One sentence contains one or the other of those two “facts” given as not worth questioning or discussing. Prime rule of desensitizing a subject: get them to allow little slips and tweaks, setting them up for the big one. Persuasion, brain washing, hypnosis, salesmanship, psychology, “yellow journalism,” propagand, fiction, magic and other performances, all use the trick, some to good often to bad effect.

Last edited 2 months ago by dk_
May 17, 2021 10:55 am

Danish Polarportal
http://polarportal.dk/fileadmin/polarportal/surface/SMB_curves_LA_EN_20210516.png

My impression is – a lot of new snow…..

Last edited 2 months ago by Krishna Gans
ResourceGuy
May 17, 2021 11:02 am

You have to watch some satellite video of storm patterns around Greenland to appreciate the triple whammy of storms coming from all directions to really understand why it’s an ice storage island and why this Dartmouth field trip is nothing more than a fun outing with friends and a photo op.

Michael in Dublin
May 17, 2021 11:30 am

I recall reading an article – perhaps on this website – that puts the melt into perspective with comparative numbers. The claim, “a 1% change in reflectivity across Greenland’s ice sheet could cause an additional 25 gigatons of ice to be lost over three years,” is not only worthless but may be deceiving the readers. How many gigatons of ice cover Greenland? This melt may be only a drop in the ocean.

Perhaps another reader or editor would kindly give us a link?

Last edited 2 months ago by Michael in Dublin
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
May 17, 2021 12:41 pm

Yes, big numbers tend to impress people, which is why they use them. And, when they present big numbers out of context, that is, without presenting the percentage of the total, it is a give away that they are attempting to manipulate the reader, rather than provide information. I think that David Middleton did a piece on the total ice in Greenland.

Climate believer
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
May 17, 2021 12:45 pm

According to NOAA…

“The updated trend for total mass loss obtained from the GRACE and GRACE-FO satellites estimates for the period May 2002-May 2019 is -267 ± 3 Gt yr-1, which is equal to roughly 0.7 mm yr-1 of global average sea level rise.”

I’m filing it under Nothing Burger.

Ron Long
May 17, 2021 11:37 am

Here’s a Reality Check: 6 fighter and 2 bomber airplanes from WW2 have been discovered under 260 feet of snow on Greenland, dated around 2016. Call me when the crashed airplanes are at the surface, until then this report is dismissed as another CAGW fund me report.

dk_
Reply to  Ron Long
May 17, 2021 11:47 am

I thought they recovered one B29 but it crashed on takeoff. It has been a long time since I looked that up, but there was a documentary on it. You may rest easy: if memory serves, they had to dig really deep, build a ramp, and barely got it out. The other aircraft were left as unrecoverable due to the compression of the snowpack and ice.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ron Long
May 17, 2021 12:44 pm

There is an old trick of passing a wire through a block of ice by draping the wire over the block and hanging weights on the ends. The ice melts below the wire because of the pressure.

I suspect that the depth of the airplanes wasn’t just from the amount of snow, but also sinking into the snow and firn from their weight.

dk_
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 17, 2021 1:54 pm

Won’t take the bet. Here is the WIkipedia link for B-29 named Kee Bird, left on the Ice in Greenland in 1947 and failed recovery in 1994. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kee_Bird. This is probably not the same as the aircraft fellow commenter Ron L. was thinking of – I hadn’t done this reading for twenty ish years or so, so my bad. Bad brain cell, bad!. But the situation seems close to what you, Clyde, are thinking.
If I remember even a little bit, there is some really good glacier life cycle information as background to the Kee Bird story online and in the documentary.
Research project: Kee Bird’s name origin is mildly entertaining, worth a chuckle.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  dk_
May 17, 2021 4:31 pm

Thanks for the link. Interesting read!

dk_
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 17, 2021 4:44 pm

Even though it is Nova, if you can find the video, it was pretty good, and before Nova lost their minds.

dk_
Reply to  Ron Long
May 17, 2021 2:01 pm

Ron L. Glacier Girl might be one of the ones that you are thinking of. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacier_Girl. My other recollection was different from yours. Still, rest easy. Only one was recovered, and I am pretty sure the others are lost again. Cheers!

dk_
May 17, 2021 11:40 am

Fourth and final pass:
The actual author also writes for Ecotours New Orleans. Some of her other light environmental oriented pieces are listed under her name at their web site:
https://www.ecotoursneworleans.com/author/chrissy-sexton/
Mostly dated 2019, IMO these mostly appear to be light, promotional pieces that might be written by a communications and news release person, or even an intern. For the most part. I can attribute any perceived ideology to the employer. Except for one piece about Hurricane Maria:
Future storms will likely permanently alter tropical forestsThis one published at Ecotours New Orleans is paid for by Earth.com. Here they do the same thing, citing an author with quotes, but making several statements of facts with no link to or even naming the study. The claim is made that the study is to be published in Nature Communications, and the study participants are said to be from Columbia University. But links in the article go to just the parent web sites for the publication and the school, not to the study.

I did find the Columbia site for the head researcher and their ongoing research page on this subject. RAPID: HURRICANE MARIA: ASSESSING LANDSCAPE RESILIENCE TO A CHANGING DISTURBANCE REGIME. I have not found a published article in Nature Communications with a similar name or description, by the research leader or collaborator listed at the above website.

Several claims of fact are made in the article about hurricanes, but linked to other earth.com news pieces. None of the claims of fact are associated with the mythical paper or either Columbia researcher/collaborator.

Chrissy does not list herself as a journalist, but as a communications student, and describes herself as what I would call an activist. She writes news releases and commercial promotion that sometimes include bits of arbitrary opinion that may be attributed to scientists, but that often seem to include un-attributed chunks of her publisher/employer’s ideology at Earth.com, which is operated and financed by ecological and climate advocacy groups, many associated with what has been called “climate justice” activities.

It takes a little work, but much climate and environmental “news” can be shown to be really poorly disguised propaganda designed for Lippmann style indoctrination.

Doonman
Reply to  dk_
May 17, 2021 1:34 pm

Chrissy does not list herself as a journalist.

At least she has got something right.

dk_
Reply to  Doonman
May 17, 2021 4:43 pm

Right Doonman! She’s no intention of being one. Just a media relations writer, responsible only to the buyer.

Al Miller
May 17, 2021 11:59 am

They forgot “It’s worse than we thought”. But just send money- ’cause that’s what it is all about anyway, never was about climate.

dk_
Reply to  Al Miller
May 17, 2021 2:04 pm

If you’ve got to have it, Al, look at Earth.com’s site, linked in several of my other comments on this WUWT post. Both of your statements are there, subject to a little rephrasing, of course.

DHR
May 17, 2021 12:10 pm

One would think that with all the melting going on in Greenland, the worlds tide gauges might show an acceleration, even an itty bitty acceleration. But they don’t. Please let me know when they do.

DHR
May 17, 2021 12:17 pm

See http://polarportal.dk/en/greenland/surface-conditions/ for the latest info on the Greenland ice sheet. It has been gaining ice for the past 8 1/2 months and is about to enter the ice loss period of late May, June, July and August. So far this year, the trends don’t look any different than the 1981 to 2010 average.

dk_
May 17, 2021 12:19 pm

Really really final pass: In re glaciers
Greenland is supposed to be 836,330 square miles. Texas is supposed to be 261,232 square miles. I know that the weather, landscape, scenery that I experience any one locale in Texas is different than almost any other random locale. North East Dallas is markedly different in climate than South Fort Worth, but differences and similarities vary by year and season.

Glaciers are always melting. Some melt comes from friction with the earth and other objects. Glaciers are always moving — even frozen, H2O does that in any material state found on earth. Coastal glaciers move more and faster than those isolated from the coast by land barriers. Coasta glacier melt cools the surrounding ocean with a layer of fresh water that is less dense than saline sea water. Landlocked glaciers build up huge reservoirs of barely, mostly “fresh” melted water, often under the ice. If it is slitghtly saline, mineral, or otherwise contaminated, melted glacier ice reservoir water temperature may actually be below freezing 32F. Each glacier is unique in every physical aspect, even the exact composition of each layer of compacted snow, water, and refrozen ice.

How much of such an area as Greenland need to sample from every possible glacial regime to make a claim about the entire continent (or sub-continent if you prefer)? How much snowfall, over how many samples would provide a scientist confidence in making a claim about snowfall over the whole content? What might a single surface, or an above surface atmospheric temperature reading be able to tell anyone about another point in a 830 thousand square mile area? How does this data gathering and analysis discipline applied in Antartica?

If a scientist addresses these questions, do listen and evaluate whatever she/he/whatever says as ascientific claim about the subject. If a news article publishes a claim without a science backing that can answer those, and more questions, ignore it. If they publish two such articles, don’t bother reading anything else they publish.

Sorry, but if you are calibrated in metric or kelvin, please convert.

Last edited 2 months ago by dk_
2hotel9
May 17, 2021 2:28 pm

Cool! More fresh water! Now, if only there were same manner or method to capture that fresh water and use it. Like long round hollow thingies, and big,giant floaty thingies to take that water to where it could be used? I know, crazy, man, ain’t nothin’ like that ever been done before!

dk_
Reply to  2hotel9
May 17, 2021 4:24 pm

President Trump should have bought or leased Greenland as was claimed he once suggested. Since no one can hold me accountable for predictions, I bet that theres a thousand years worth of oil and gas locked up under that continent. Not to mention more lithium than we’ll ever need.

2hotel9
Reply to  dk_
May 18, 2021 6:13 am

With modern drilling and fracing practices it could be gotten to without “destroying” the natural beauty of the land. Plus all that fresh water to export, an industry just aching to be expanded.

Rud Istvan
May 17, 2021 2:58 pm

Didn’t comment earlier because was doing chores. There is a fair bit of literature on the blackened Greenland ice cap. It involves the firn and adjacent upper ice layers of ice cores. From them can be inferred that the blackening problem is recent, and attributable both to China air pollution, the residual of which washes out over the ice sheet as dirty Greenland snow despite the vast distances, and to US and Canadian forest fire smoke going back to events like Wisconsin’s Peshtigo fire in the 1880’s

What the article did not say was that this problem is to a certain extent self healing. Darker ice means more summer surface melting, with the melt water carrying away (down moulins) the actual particulate carbon pollution. There are some very graphic pictorial examples easily googled.

dk_
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 17, 2021 4:27 pm

I’ll accept all that. I do seem to remember that there were claims that North American and Western Asian coal soot once affected the albedo of Greenland ice, but I have no reference for that.

Steve Z
May 17, 2021 3:55 pm

[QUOTE FROM ARTICLE]”According to the research team, a 1% change in reflectivity across Greenland’s ice sheet could cause an additional 25 gigatons of ice to be lost over three years.” [END QUOTE]

25 Gigatons sounds like a lot of ice, doesn’t it? That’s 2.5(10^13) kg. If it was melted, the resulting water would have a volume of 2.5(10^10) m3.

But what would be the effect of 25 gigatons of water on sea level? The world’s oceans have a total area of about 361 million km2, or 3.61(10^14) m2. Dividing the volume of melted water by the area of the oceans results in a sea level rise of 0.000069 meter, or 0.069 millimeters in 3 years, or 0.023 mm per year. Wow-whee! (sarc)

Depending on whose data one believes, sea levels are currently rising at about 2 to 3 mm/year. So that darkening snow in western Greenland could increase the rate by about 1%. Could anyone really measure such a small number?



dk_
Reply to  Steve Z
May 17, 2021 4:40 pm

No one ever seems to relate “could” to “how.” Could is a B.S. flag. If they don’t say how in their paper then the news release is trashed, again.

Reply to  Steve Z
May 18, 2021 7:41 am

Depending on whose data you believe. They cannot measure sea level accurately; the errors are orders of magnitude larger than their measurements.
I look at Length of Day since 1972. The first decade after the Atomic Clock was put into service measuring LOD, a lot of leap seconds were added. Every decade since then has had less and less leap seconds added. If sea levels were actually rising, more and more leap seconds would have been needed to be added each decade.  
They disagree on how fast the sea level is rising, the actual, most accurate data, LOD, shows they are all wrong, sea level has dropped for 50 years.  

pat michaels
May 17, 2021 4:12 pm

Way cherry pick 1982 as their start year. It it’s in the the lowest ice melt of any year back to around 1920. Check Figure 2 in Fraunfeld, Knappenberger and Michaels, 2011

It is worth noting that the satellite observations of Greenland’s total ice melt, which begin in the late 1970s, start during a time that is characterized by the lowest sustained extent of melt during the past century (Figure 2). Thus, the positive melt extent trend includes nearly equal contributions from the relatively high melt extents in recent years but also from the relatively low ice melt extent in the early years of the available satellite record. The large values of melt extent observed in recent years are much less unusual when compared against conditions typical of the early to mid 20th century, than when compared against conditions at the beginning the of the satellite record.

Olinelibrary.wiley.com/cms/asset/2ca5647b-7b7d-4307-b47c-bacb13f03e17/jgrd16813-fig-0002.png

pat michaels
May 17, 2021 4:21 pm

Also, on clean snow–Sometimes, as in the eruption of Laki in 1783, the ice became very dark as can be seen in cores. A trip to Iceland and Greenland (both highly recommended) reveals lots of black ice buried beneath the surface, to be seen on glacial faces.

This paper seems to ignore the fact that the largest discharge glacier in the entire Northern Hemisphere,Jacobshaven (Illulisat), suddenly reversed course from rapid retreat to rapid advance a few years ago.

Reply to  pat michaels
May 18, 2021 7:17 am

When glaciers retreat it is because the ice is depleted and the glacier is not heavy enough to push the ice as fast as it is losing ice at the edges and tails of the ice. The lack of ice pushed into the warm tropical currents allows the sea ice to be removed and that turns on the great ice machines powered by warm water from the tropics. It snows more on top of the great glaciers until they advance and start dumping ice to chill the warm saltwater and form sea ice again. There is no static balance for this, This is a dynamic cycle and the warm and cold alternating periods are both necessary.

May 17, 2021 10:02 pm

That is really easy to understand if you study Milankovitch and Ice Core Data.
7000 years ago the sun was putting more solar energy into the northern hemisphere and that promoted more evaporation and snowfall in the Arctic.
Now the sun is putting less solar energy into the northern hemisphere and more into the southern hemisphere. Greenland does get less snowfall now because less is needed. This is simple stuff, if you study actual data.

Reply to  Herman A (Alex) Pope
May 18, 2021 7:02 am

When the Arctic ice is depleted and not being dumped into the warm tropical gulf stream to cool it enough to form sea ice, the great ice machine is turned on again to build the ice on Greenland and all around the Arctic and it will snow more with more ice accumulation without stop until more ice being pushed into the warm salt water will chill it, like as in my old hand crank ice cream maker until sea ice is formed again. This is why there are cycles. The ice is not pushed off the sides of Greenland until there is an abundance of ice. The ice pushing does not stop until ice is depleted. This process must have alternating warm and cold cycles, there is no way for there to be a steady state equilibrium. Static Energy Balance of this polar climate system cannot be explained with a static energy balance theory. This is a dynamic system that has energy that powers the ice machine piped in from the tropical regions with ocean currents, a sea ice switch to turn the ice machine on and off as needed, a thermostat setting of the temperature sea ice thaws and freezes, cooling capacity stored in the ice as IR out from the polar region does cool the system with the thawing ice, many years later. This dynamic energy balance with IR out in warm times that cool the system years later when the ice thaws has not been properly considered since Ewing and Donn in the 1950’s.

Think about this stuff!

Reply to  Herman A (Alex) Pope
May 18, 2021 7:11 am

Ice core records show that the polar temperatures alternate above and below the temperature that sea ice forms and thaws. When the oceans are deeper and warmer, more ice is placed on Greenland until enough ice is pushed into the warm currents to form sea ice. This IR out from making this ice cools the climate system later when it is pushed into the ocean and it reflects more and cools more land it is spread on.  This drops sea level.  More ice in and a lower sea level makes the whole climate system cooler. The IR out that balances this dynamic system occurred in warmest times but the actual cooling of the system occurs from thawing ice when IR out cannot explain that time being cold.

Petit_Barde
May 18, 2021 3:00 am

Too many climate clowns walking on it :

  • Greenland will tip over and capsize.
Olen
May 18, 2021 7:12 am

Greenland and Iceland, names reversed.

Gary Ashe
May 18, 2021 7:41 pm

Don’t eat the yellow snow.

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