Articles | Volume 4, issue 4
The Cryosphere, 4, 511–527, 2010
The Cryosphere, 4, 511–527, 2010

Research article 01 Dec 2010

Research article | 01 Dec 2010

Climate of the Greenland ice sheet using a high-resolution climate model – Part 1: Evaluation

J. Ettema1,2, M. R. van den Broeke1, E. van Meijgaard3, W. J. van de Berg1, J. E. Box4, and K. Steffen5 J. Ettema et al.
  • 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 2Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
  • 3Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, The Netherlands
  • 4Department of Geography, Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University, Columbia, Ohio, USA
  • 5Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. A simulation of 51 years (1957–2008) has been performed over Greenland using the regional atmospheric climate model (RACMO2/GR) at a horizontal grid spacing of 11 km and forced by ECMWF re-analysis products. To better represent processes affecting ice sheet surface mass balance, such as meltwater refreezing and penetration, an additional snow/ice surface module has been developed and implemented into the surface part of the climate model. The temporal evolution and climatology of the model is evaluated with in situ coastal and ice sheet atmospheric measurements of near-surface variables and surface energy balance components. The bias for the near-surface air temperature (−0.8 °C), specific humidity (0.1 g kg−1), wind speed (0.3 m s−1) as well as for radiative (2.5 W m−2 for net radiation) and turbulent heat fluxes shows that the model is in good accordance with available observations on and around the ice sheet. The modelled surface energy budget underestimates the downward longwave radiation and overestimates the sensible heat flux. Due to their compensating effect, the averaged 2 m temperature bias is small and the katabatic wind circulation well captured by the model.