Articles | Volume 2, issue 2
19 Nov 2008
 | 19 Nov 2008

Diagnosing the extreme surface melt event over southwestern Greenland in 2007

M. Tedesco, M. Serreze, and X. Fettweis

Abstract. Analysis of passive microwave brightness temperatures from the space-borne Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) documents a record surface snowmelt over high elevations (above 2000 m) of the Greenland ice sheet during summer of 2007. To interpret this record, results from the SSM/I are examined in conjunction with fields from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis and output from a regional climate model. The record surface melt reflects unusually warm conditions, seen in positive summertime anomalies of surface air temperatures, downwelling longwave radiation, 1000–500 hPa atmospheric thickness, and the net surface energy flux, linked in turn to southerly airflow over the ice sheet. Low snow accumulation may have contributed to the record through promoting anomalously low surface albedo.