Assessing bare-ice albedo simulated by MAR over the Greenland ice sheet (2000–2021) and implications for meltwater production estimates

Raf M. Antwerpen, Marco Tedesco, Xavier Fettweis, Patrick Alexander, Willem Jan van de Berg
2022 The Cryosphere  
Abstract. Surface mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) has accelerated over the past decades, mainly due to enhanced surface melting and liquid water runoff in response to atmospheric warming. A large portion of runoff from the GrIS originates from exposure of the darker bare ice in the ablation zone when the overlying snow melts, where surface albedo plays a critical role in modulating the energy available for melting. In this regard, it is imperative to understand the processes
more » ... ing albedo variability to accurately project future mass loss from the GrIS. Bare-ice albedo is spatially and temporally variable and contingent on non-linear feedbacks and the presence of light-absorbing constituents. An assessment of models aiming at simulating albedo variability and associated impacts on meltwater production is crucial for improving our understanding of the processes governing these feedbacks and, in turn, surface mass loss from Greenland. Here, we report the results of a comparison of the bare-ice extent and albedo simulated by the regional climate model Modèle Atmosphérique Régional (MAR) with satellite imagery from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) for the GrIS below 70∘ N. Our findings suggest that MAR overestimates bare-ice albedo by 22.8 % on average in this area during the 2000–2021 period with respect to the estimates obtained from MODIS. Using an energy balance model to parameterize meltwater production, we find this bare-ice albedo bias can lead to an underestimation of total meltwater production from the bare-ice zone below 70∘ N of 42.8 % during the summers of 2000–2021.
doi:10.5194/tc-16-4185-2022 fatcat:dwheclewzvamrjnqix2mzeuwyu