Just like last year there seems to be a parallel between the rate and amount of decrease of Arctic sea ice (ASI) and the Greenland ice sheet (GIS or GrIS). Last year the ASI extent/area/volume records were obliterated due to periods of blocking high-pressure areas, a huge cyclone, and general thinness of the ice pack, and simultaneously the Greenland ice sheet melted like never witnessed before.
This year the poorest start to the melting season since I've been watching the ASI (more on this later this week) is mirrored by a more 'normal' mass decrease on Greenland. So far. Two weeks ago a great update on the situation on Greenland appeared on the NSIDC's brand new Greenland Today web page. I didn't post about it due to a very busy schedule, but better late than never.
Before I do that though I also want to call attention to the Dark Snow Project. Dr. Jason Box, some other scientists and blogger/video maker Peter Sinclair are on Greenland as we speak, taking measurements to increase our knowledge of the different factors that contribute to GIS mass loss.
They're putting out a lot of videos, but here's a good overview:
And now for the NSIDC Greenland Today article:
Springtime melt in Greenland: Late start, rapid spread
June 21, 2013
Surface melting of the snow and ice of the Greenland Ice Sheet had a slightly late start, but quickly spread over a significant area, extending over more than 20% of the ice sheet in early June and reaching above 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) elevation in some areas. Small melt lakes have begun to form on the ice sheet, as seen by the new USGS/NASA Landsat-8 satellite.
Overview of conditions
After the annual re-calibration of the melt algorithm in mid March (see March 18 post), very little melt was detected until May. A few southern coastal areas began melting in mid-May, followed by inland higher-elevation ice and all remaining coastal areas about June 3, when warmer conditions arrived. Surface melting reached the “Saddle” region of the ice sheet (located where the pale bluish band extends from the east to the west coastal zones in Figure 1) on June 11 and 13. Only the central eastern coast remains relatively melt free.
At this point, the pace of melt is well above average, but well behind the early, intense start seen in the record 2012 season (see February 5 post).
After a spike in melt area in early June, cooler conditions have brought the melt area near the average extent of ~20% of the ice sheet.
[image on the right shows latest data; N.]
Cool conditions in April and May shifted to warmer-than-average weather along both coasts in early June, which initiated more widespread melt on the ice sheet. This shift roughly coincided with a larger change in the Arctic Oscillation from near-neutral conditions to slightly positive, and a shift from generally easterly and northerly winds to southwesterlies. The sea ice on both sides of Greenland remained at near-normal extent through the period.
Read the rest here at the source.