Annual net snow accumulation over southern Greenland from 1975 to 1998

  • McConnell J
  • Lamorey G
  • Hanna E
 et al. 
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As part of NASA's Program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment (PARCA), extensive ice core measurements of annual net water-equivalent accumulation have been made recently around the southern Greenland ice sheet. Analysis of these measurements demonstrates that annual and seasonal accumulation patterns are sometimes regional, with temporal variability in accumulation correlated over large areas. Using this unique, widely distributed set of contemporaneous accumulation measurements, as well as available previously published observations, we developed maps of annual net snow accumulation south of similar to73degreesN for each year from 1975 to 1998. Here net snow accumulation is defined as snow accumulation minus ablation. In order to achieve a more consistent spatial distibution of core measurements for each of the 24 years in the study period, some of the observed records were extrapolated up to 5 years using empirical relationships between monthly precipitation measured at coastal stations and the observed ice core net accumulation records. Initial comparisons between the maps of annual net snow accumulation and similar maps of net accumulation derived from meteorological model simulations show excellent agreement in the temporal variability of accumulation, although significant differences in the magnitude of accumulation remain. Both measurements and model simulations indicate that annual net accumulation, averaged over all higher-elevation regions (above 2000 m) of the southern ice sheet, varies significantly from one year to the next. The maximum year-to-year change during the 24-year study period occurred between calendar years 1995 and 1996, when the average annual net snow accumulation increased by 101 and 172 kg m(-2) yr(-1), or 37% and 57%, for observations and model simulations, respectively. Taken alone, this 1-year change in average net snow accumulation corresponds to a drop in sea level of similar to0.16 and similar to0.28 mm yr(-1).

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  • Edward HannaUniversity of Lincoln

  • Joseph R. McConnell

  • Gregg Lamorey

  • Ellen Mosley-Thompson

  • Roger C. Bales

  • Deirdre Belle-Oudry

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