Greenland freshwater runoff. Part II: Distribution and trends, 1960-2010

Sebastian H. Mernild*, Glen E. Liston

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Runoff magnitudes, the spatial patterns from individual Greenland catchments, and their changes through time (1960-2010) were simulated in an effort to understand runoff variations to adjacent seas and to illustrate the capability of SnowModel (a snow and ice evolution model) and HydroFlow (a runoff routing model) to link variations in terrestrial runoff with ocean processes and other components of Earth's climate system. Significant increases in air temperature, net precipitation, and local surface runoff lead to enhanced and statistically significant Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) surface mass balance (SMB) loss. Total Greenland runoff to the surrounding oceans increased 30%, averaging 481 ± 85 km 3 yr -1. Averaged over the period, 69% of the runoff to the surrounding seas originated from the GrIS and 31% came from outside the GrIS from rain and melting glaciers and ice caps. The runoff increase from the GrIS was due to an 87% increase in melt extent, 18% from increases in melt duration, and a 5%decrease in melt rates (87%+18%-5%=100%). In contrast, the runoff increase from the land area surrounding the GrIS was due to a 0%change in melt extent, a 108% increase in melt duration, and an 8% decrease in melt rate. In general, years with positive Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) index equaled years with relatively high Greenland runoff volume and vice versa. Regionally, runoff was greater from western than eastern Greenland. Since 1960, the data showed pronounced runoff increases in west Greenland, with the greatest increase occurring in the southwest and the lowest increase in the northwest.

TidsskriftJournal of Climate
Udgave nummer17
Sider (fra-til)6015-6035
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2012
Udgivet eksterntJa

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