Summer melt in Svalbard

Summer melt in Svalbard

This picture from today is the answer to August 2022 puzzle.

Exceptionally warm air temperatures in summer 2022 caused record melt across Svalbard. Abundant meltwater, much of which flows into the ocean, is the latest expression of a rapidly warming climate in Norway’s ice-covered archipelago.

According to Xavier Fettweis, a climatologist at the University of Liège, the cumulative melt across Svalbard between June 1 and July 31, 2022, was 1.5 times greater than the previous record in 2018. Since the start of summer, it has indicated about 40 gigatons. (44 billion US tons) of meltwater flowed into the ocean.

“The melt anomaly is 3.5 times greater than the 1981-2010 average, and five times the inter-annual variance,” Vitoise said. “Only a changing climate can explain this.”

Halfway between mainland Norway and the Arctic, Svalbard is one of the hottest places on the planet. More than half of the Earth’s land area is covered with ice, which represents about 6 percent of the planet’s icy area outside Greenland and Antarctica.

Even before the log melted, warming was already changing the landscape. glaciers undonea superficial layer of compressed porous ice, known as a fern, It has the ability to store a lot of melt water.

Excessive warmth in the summer of 2022 took a noticeable toll. These natural color images were acquired on July 29, 2022 by Operational Earth Imaging -2 (OLI-2) is on Landsat 9, showing part of Nordaustlandet – a main island in the northeast of Svalbard. Note the broad, bright blue areas where the snow and trees melt away, revealing bare ice. The detailed image (below) shows several dark blue melt pools, where meltwater collected on the surface of the ice cap.

At sea, some of the colored water likely came from sediment that was eroded by ice flowing over the rocks and then carried by meltwater into the waters of the Wahlenbergfjorden and the nearby Arctic Ocean. There may also be phytoplankton, which can color the water a turquoise blue and green.

Melting this summer it was caused by A continuous warm wind blows from the south. From May 1 through July 25, 2022, parts of the archipelago experienced average air temperatures of 1.8 °C (3.2 °F) higher than normal. A large pulse of warm air starting on July 15 produced the highest melt volume recorded in Svalbard on July 17.

Ftwiss explained that other factors also contributed to the record thawing. First, sea ice retreated from the archipelago earlier than usual, exposing the open ocean waters by the end of spring 2022. (Sea ice can sometimes persist into late summer). This allowed warm south winds to reach land without being cooled first by blowing over sea ice. Also, little snow falls during the winter of 2021-2022. The thin layer of fresh snow quickly melted as temperatures rose, resulting in large areas of older, darker snow, sleet, and bare icicles emerging. Compared to bright new snow, these darker surfaces absorb more energy from the sun, amplifying melt during the long, sunlit Arctic days.

In the past, a lot of melt water was stored inside a layer of the furnace, where the water eventually freezes. This process helps prevent meltwater from flowing into the ocean and can help preserve glacial ice. According to Vitwis, between 1981-2010, the ice mass on Svalbard held about 34 percent of its summer meltwater. This summer, he said, only 8 percent was kept.

Over the past decade, mass losses from thawing and runoff have outpaced accumulations of rain and snow. “Svalbard is now losing more ice than it is gaining, and it is clear that This trend will continue In the future.”

NASA Earth Observatory by Joshua Stevensusing Landsat data from USGS. story by Kathryn Hansen With scientific review by Xavier Fettweis/U. Liege, and Christopher Schumann/NASA/UMBC.