Camp Dark Snow 2014

At last, Camp Dark Snow 2014 has a date (17 June) and a location; 42 nautical miles east of Kangerlussuaq on the southwestern Greenland ice sheet, at an elevation 1250 m above sea level.
Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 2.13.39 PM
Here each summer the ice melts down 1.48 m on average since 2008, only 0.3 m in 2009; and  2.1 m in the record melt year of 2012 (data after Fausto et al. 2012). This location is host to the @Promice_GL “KAN_M” climate station.

Dirk van As maintains the KAN_M climate station in the pre-melt of 2013
When we start the camp, there will be some residual winter snow on ice, how much, hard to predict, though we can see below that southwest Greenland has had this year 30-50% of normal precipitation. If this drought keeps up, we’ll see an earlier than normal bare ice emergence and higher than normal melt.
precipitation difference from normal according to an observationally constrained atmospheric circulation model. Brown isolines indicate less than average precipitation. The contour interval is 10, 30, 50, 70, 100, 110, 120, 150 percent.
Late June when we should put in our camp, there will be snow and slush in some areas until the snow is gone. Ideally, we have both snow and bare ice when we set the camp. The Digital Globe image below depicts what the surface would look like by say mid July once the snow cover is gone.
Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 11.19.49 AM
spacing between the melt ponds is 800 m (2300 ft)

Our field experiments, to be elaborated further in future posts, include documenting the importance of dust, black carbon, and microbes in snow and ice melt.

The field team so far includes:

  • Drs. Marek Stibal video; Karen Cameron; and Prof. Jason Box of Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS)
  • Prof. Martyn Tranter; University of Bristol in England
  • Drs. Arwyn Edward; Tristram Irvine-Fynn, a video; Alun Hubbard, a video of the University of Aberystwyth in Wales
  • Dr. Joseph Cook of the University of Derby in England
  • Alia Khan, blog of the University of Boulder, CO, USA
  • media specialist Peter Sinclair, a video
  • media specialist Dr. Sara Jones, a video

It is by pooling resources among these groups that we can do more/better science and get the science message out.

Work Cited

  • Fausto R. S., D. Van As and PROMICE Project Team (2012), Ablation observations for 2008-2011 from the Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet (PROMICE). In Bennike O, Garde AA and Watt WS eds. Review of survey activities 2011. GEUS, Copenhagen, 25-28 (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin 26).


About the author Jason Box

Dr. Jason Box has been investigating Greenland ice sheet sensitivity to weather and climate as part of 23 expeditions to Greenland since 1994. His time camping on the inland ice exceeds 1 year. Year 2012 brought a deeper level of insight as the scientific perspective shifts to examine the interactions ice with atmospheric and ocean systems, including the role of fire in darkening the cryosphere. As part of his academic enterprise, Box has authored or co-authored 50+ peer-reviewed publications related to Greenland cryosphere-climate interactions. Box instructed climatology courses at The Ohio State University 2003-2012. Box is now a Professor at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). Box was a contributing author to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 4th assessment report. Box is also the former Chair of the Cryosphere Focus Group of the American Geophysical Union.

All posts by Jason Box →

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