Articles | Volume 10, issue 2
Research article
03 Mar 2016
Research article |  | 03 Mar 2016

The darkening of the Greenland ice sheet: trends, drivers, and projections (1981–2100)

Marco Tedesco, Sarah Doherty, Xavier Fettweis, Patrick Alexander, Jeyavinoth Jeyaratnam, and Julienne Stroeve

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Cited articles

Alexander, P. M., Tedesco, M., Fettweis, X., van de Wal, R. S. W., Smeets, C. J. P. P., and van den Broeke, M. R.: Assessing spatio-temporal variability and trends in modelled and measured Greenland Ice Sheet albedo (2000–2013), The Cryosphere, 8, 2293–2312,, 2014.
Arnaud, L., Barnola, J. M., and Duval, P.: Physical modeling of the densification of snow/firn and ice in the upper part of polar ice sheets, in: Physics of Ice Core Records, edited by: Hondoh, T., Hokkaido University Press, Sapporo, Japan, 285–305, 2000.
Arora, V. K. and Boer, G. J.: Uncertainties in the 20th century carbon budget associated with land use change, Global Change Biol., 16, 3327–3348,, 2010.
Benning, L. G., Anesio, A. M., Lutz, S., and Tranter, M.: Biological impact on Greenland's albedo, Nat. Geosci., 7, 691–691,, 2014.
Benson, C. S.: Stratigraphic Studies in the Snow and Firn of the Greenland Ice Sheet, Research Report 70, US Army Snow, Ice, and Permafrost Research Establishment (SIPRE), US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL), published version of C. S. Benson's PhD Dissertation of 1960, 93 pp., 1962.
Short summary
Summer surface albedo over Greenland decreased at a rate of 0.02 per decade between 1996 and 2012. The decrease is due to snow grain growth, the expansion of bare ice areas, and trends in light-absorbing impurities on snow and ice surfaces. Neither aerosol models nor in situ observations indicate increasing trends in impurities in the atmosphere over Greenland. Albedo projections through to the end of the century under different warming scenarios consistently point to continued darkening.