Modelling the climate and surface mass balance of polar ice sheets using RACMO2 – Part 1: Greenland (1958–2016)
Abstract. We evaluate modelled Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) near-surface climate, surface energy balance (SEB) and surface mass balance (SMB) from the updated regional climate model RACMO2 (1958–2016). The new model version, referred to as RACMO2.3p2, incorporates updated glacier outlines, topography and ice albedo fields. Parameters in the cloud scheme governing the conversion of cloud condensate into precipitation have been tuned to correct inland snowfall underestimation: snow properties are modified to reduce drifting snow and melt production in the ice sheet percolation zone. The ice albedo prescribed in the updated model is lower at the ice sheet margins, increasing ice melt locally. RACMO2.3p2 shows good agreement compared to in situ meteorological data and point SEB/SMB measurements, and better resolves the spatial patterns and temporal variability of SMB compared with the previous model version, notably in the north-east, south-east and along the K-transect in south-western Greenland. This new model version provides updated, high-resolution gridded fields of the GrIS present-day climate and SMB, and will be used for projections of the GrIS climate and SMB in response to a future climate scenario in a forthcoming study.