A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has discovered that a marked decrease in summer cloud cover during the last 20 years has significantly accelerated melt from the Greenland ice sheet. The new findings, published this week in Science Advances, show that less cloud cover and more summer sunshine allows increased solar radiation to reach the surface providing more energy for melting.
The research shows that a one percent reduction in summer cloud cover is equivalent to 27 gigatons of extra ice melt on the Greenland ice sheet. The team also found that since 1995, Greenland has lost a total of about 4,000 gigatons of ice. Melt from the Greenland ice sheet has become the biggest single contributor to the rise in global sea levels.
Stefan Hofer, a member of the GlobalMass project team, is the lead author of the study and Jonathan Bamber (GlobalMass principle investigator) is one of the co-authors.
The full press release can be found here.
‘Decreasing cloud cover drives the recent mass loss on the Greenland ice sheet’ by S. Hofer, A.J Tedstone, J.L Bamber and X. Fettweis in Science Advances e1700584 (2017).