Record amount of snow and ice accumulated in Greenland

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(ORDO NEWS) — Greenland is currently accumulating record amounts of snow and ice, according to data provided by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI).

Record amount of snow and ice accumulated in Greenland 1

Using the daily result of a weather forecasting model in combination with a model that calculates snow and ice melt, DMI calculates the “surface mass budget” (SMB) of the ice sheet.

Critical to glacier conservation is its SMB, which is the difference between accumulation and ablation (sublimation and melting). The calculation takes into account the balance between snow that is added to the ice sheet and melting snow and glacial ice that is washed into the ocean.

Record amount of snow and ice accumulated in Greenland 2

This volume is calculated during the season, from September 1 to August 31. Last season, SMB totaled 349 billion tonnes, which was “normal,” according to DMI.

Changes in this mass balance control long-term glacier behavior and are the most sensitive indicators of climate.

Ice sheets can also lose ice as a result of icebergs breaking away (called “calving”) from its edge, but this is not included in this type of calculation. Spalling usually occurs when the ice sheet expands rather than contracts. In addition, icebergs that have broken away from the glacier – for example, the Antarctic A-76 – are not “lost” to the ocean, but continue to exist as a kind of island extension of the ice sheet.

With a significant increase in SMB over the past few years, the Greenland Ice Sheet looks set to continue this trend in 2021. Despite decades of prophecies about the loss of the ice sheet, the ice sheet is currently gaining a record amount of “mass” – only for yesterday (May 25, 2021) by 8 gigatons.

After an admittedly slow start to the month (but an overall impressive season), the world’s largest island recorded an unprecedented accumulation on Tuesday: an 8 gigaton increase in SMBs has never been recorded at this time of year since DMI records began in 1981.

An increase of this magnitude would be big news in November / February, let alone the end of May. According to climate experts, Greenland should have already melted, but on the contrary, it is building up snow and ice.


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