Articles | Volume 14, issue 2
The Cryosphere, 14, 521–538, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-14-521-2020
The Cryosphere, 14, 521–538, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-14-521-2020

Research article 11 Feb 2020

Research article | 11 Feb 2020

Algal growth and weathering crust state drive variability in western Greenland Ice Sheet ice albedo

Andrew J. Tedstone et al.

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Short summary
Albedo describes how much light that hits a surface is reflected without being absorbed. Low-albedo ice surfaces melt more quickly. There are large differences in the albedo of bare-ice areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet. They are caused both by dark glacier algae and by the condition of the underlying ice. Changes occur over centimetres to metres, so satellites do not always detect real albedo changes. Estimates of melt made using satellite measurements therefore tend to be underestimates.