A new ice2ice paper co-authored by ice2ice researchers Ruth Mottram and Peter Langen from DMI documents how solid ice lenses formed as a result of melt have increased the runoff area in Greenland by 26% since 2001. The study is published in Nature.
Although runoff from ice slabs has added less than a millimeter to global sea levels so far, this contribution will grow substantially as ice slabs continue to expand in a warming climate.
Such melt episodes are becoming increasingly common in Greenland: In July of 2012, snow and ice melted from 97 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet surface, an event not seen in the 33-year satellite record.
ice2ice researcher and expert in ice dynamics, Ruth Mottram states that “So far the increased melt water from the ice sheet has contributed just 1 cm to the global sea level in the last 15 years. However from the new study we observe that surface melt, which contributes to the sea level, will increase significantly. And that is really unfortunate for the icecaps ability to contain mass”
The process of refreezing melt water has so far not been well implemented in climate models, but with research from ice2ice and DMI the process is now better constrained also in the models allowing for more correct estimates of future sea level changes.
The study was a collaboration between ice2ice partner the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) and partners from the danish geological surveys, university of Colorado, the national snow and data centre (NSIDC) and University of Freiburg. You can read the full paper here