Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Fire and Ice: Wildfires Darkening Greenland Snowpack, Increasing Melting

06.12.2012
Satellite observations have revealed the first direct evidence of smoke from Arctic wildfires drifting over the Greenland ice sheet, tarnishing the ice with soot and making it more likely to melt under the sun.

At the American Geophysical Union meeting this week, an Ohio State University researcher presented images from NASA’s Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite, which captured smoke from Arctic fires billowing out over Greenland during the summer of 2012.


NASA CALIPSO satellite scan over Greenland. The circled region (right) is among those researchers have identified as sooty aerosols from wildfires. Image by Jason Box, courtesy of Ohio State University.

Jason Box, associate professor of geography at Ohio State, said that researchers have long been concerned with how the Greenland landscape is losing its sparkly reflective quality as temperatures rise. The surface is darkening as ice melts away, and, since dark surfaces are less reflective than light ones, the surface captures more heat, which leads to stronger and more prolonged melting.

Researchers previously recorded a 6 percent drop in reflectivity in Greenland over the last decade, which Box calculates will cause enough warming to bring the entire surface of the ice sheet to melting each summer, as it did in 2012.

But along with the melting, researchers believe that there is a second environmental effect that is darkening polar ice: soot from wildfires, which may be becoming more common in the Arctic.

“Soot is an extremely powerful light absorber,” Box said. “It settles over the ice and captures the sun’s heat. That’s why increasing tundra wildfires have the potential to accelerate the melting in Greenland.”

Box was inspired to investigate tundra fires after his home state of Colorado suffered devastating wildfires this past year. According to officials, those fires were driven in part by high temperatures.

Meanwhile, in the Arctic, rising temperatures may be causing tundra wildfires to become more common. To find evidence of soot deposition from these fires, Box and his team first used thermal images from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to identify large fires in the region. Then they used computer models to project possible smoke particle trajectories, which suggested that the smoke from various fires could indeed reach Greenland.

Finally, they used that information to examine the CALIPSO data, and pinpoint sooty aerosols—smoke clouds—over Greenland.

Because the only way to truly measure the extent to which soot particles enhance melting is to take ice sheet surface samples, Box is organizing a Greenland ice sheet expedition for 2013. The Dark Snow Project expedition is to be the first of its kind, made possible by crowd-source funding.

The analysis of the MODIS and CALIPSO data was supported by the Ohio State University’s Climate, Water and Carbon initiative. Collaborators on the fire study include Thomas Painter of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and graduate student McKenzie Skiles of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Contact: Jason Box, (614) 506-0830; Box.11@osu.edu

Written by Pam Frost Gorder, (614) 292-9475; Gorder.1@osu.edu

Editor’s note: to contact Box during the American Geophysical Union meeting, or to obtain a copy of a CALIPSO image showing smoke over Greenland, contact Pam Frost Gorder.

Presentation C51E-03, “Greenland ice sheet albedo feedback: mass balance implications,” will take place at 8:30 a.m. PT on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, in Rm. 3007 Moscone West.

Pam Frost Gorder | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht The Arctic: Interglacial period with a break
28.05.2015 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Over 70% of glacier volume in Everest region could be lost by 2100
27.05.2015 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wie Solarzellen helfen, Knochenbrüche zu finden

FAU-Forscher verwenden neues Material für Röntgendetektoren

Nicht um Sonnenlicht geht es ihnen, sondern um Röntgenstrahlen: Wissenschaftler der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) haben zusammen mit...

Im Focus: Festkörper-Photonik ermöglicht extrem kurzwellige UV-Strahlung

Mit ultrakurzen Laserpulsen haben Wissenschaftler aus dem Labor für Attosekundenphysik in dünnen dielektrischen Schichten EUV-Strahlung erzeugt und die zugrunde liegenden Mechanismen untersucht.

Das Jahr 1961, die Erfindung des Lasers lag erst kurz zurück, markierte den Beginn der nichtlinearen Optik und Photonik. Denn erstmals war es Wissenschaftlern...

Im Focus: Solid-state photonics goes extreme ultraviolet

Using ultrashort laser pulses, scientists in Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have demonstrated the emission of extreme ultraviolet radiation from thin dielectric films and have investigated the underlying mechanisms.

In 1961, only shortly after the invention of the first laser, scientists exposed silicon dioxide crystals (also known as quartz) to an intense ruby laser to...

Im Focus: Szenario 2050: Ein Wurmloch in Big Apple

Andy ist Physiker und wohnt in New York. Obwohl er schon seit fünf Jahren im Big Apple arbeitet, ist ihm die Stadt immer noch fremd – zu laut, zu hektisch, zu schmutzig. Wie soll das in Zukunft weitergehen? Die Antwort erfährt er prompt – und am eigenen Leib.

„New York – die Stadt, die niemals schläft.“ Lieber Franky Boy Sinatra, ich bin ganz bei Dir. Schon 1977 hattest du mit deinem Song ganz recht. Einen wichtigen...

Im Focus: Auf der Suche nach Leben in ausserirdischen Ozeanen

Grosse Ehre für Nicolas Thomas von der Universität Bern: Der Forscher wurde zum Mitglied des Kamerateams der NASA-Mission «Europa Clipper» ernannt. Mit ihrer Hilfe soll die Frage beantwortet werden, ob es in den Ozeanen des Jupiter-Mondes «Europa» Leben gibt.

Gibt es Leben im All? Antworten auf diese Frage erhofft sich die US-Weltraumbehörde NASA von der Mission «Europa Clipper». Das Ziel der in der Planungsphase...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

13. Koblenzer eLearning Tage

28.05.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Tour Eucor 2015: mehr als 700 Kilometer durch drei Länder

28.05.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Deutsches Klima-Konsortium zu den Perspektiven für die Klimaforschung bis 2025

28.05.2015 | Veranstaltungen

 
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Erster Dipolmagnet für Hochenergiespeicherring HESR in Jülich eingetroffen

28.05.2015 | Physik Astronomie

"Parkhilfe" für Brummifahrer: Siemens installiert Parkleitsystem für Lkw

28.05.2015 | Verkehr Logistik

BSE-Derivatevolumen übersteigt 1 Mrd. Kontrakte seit Nutzung der T7-Handelsplattform der Deutschen Börse

28.05.2015 | Wirtschaft Finanzen