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01.02.2017 | Sonderheft 1/2017 Open Access

Ambio 1/2017

Spatiotemporal variability in surface energy balance across tundra, snow and ice in Greenland

Zeitschrift:
Ambio > Sonderheft 1/2017
Autoren:
Magnus Lund, Christian Stiegler, Jakob Abermann, Michele Citterio, Birger U. Hansen, Dirk van As
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s13280-016-0867-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Abstract

The surface energy balance (SEB) is essential for understanding the coupled cryosphere–atmosphere system in the Arctic. In this study, we investigate the spatiotemporal variability in SEB across tundra, snow and ice. During the snow-free period, the main energy sink for ice sites is surface melt. For tundra, energy is used for sensible and latent heat flux and soil heat flux leading to permafrost thaw. Longer snow-free period increases melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet and glaciers and may promote tundra permafrost thaw. During winter, clouds have a warming effect across surface types whereas during summer clouds have a cooling effect over tundra and a warming effect over ice, reflecting the spatial variation in albedo. The complex interactions between factors affecting SEB across surface types remain a challenge for understanding current and future conditions. Extended monitoring activities coupled with modelling efforts are essential for assessing the impact of warming in the Arctic.

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