Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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CLaSP doctoral candidate is first author on a new paper published in AGU journal

Posted: June 21, 2018

CLaSP doctoral candidate is first author on a new paper published in AGU journal Image: Jonathan Bamber / University of Bristol / NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Doctoral candidate Jamie Ward is first author on a new paper published in the AGU journal, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

From the article: 

Professor Flanner oulines the investigation's objective: 

"The primary aim of the study was to compare these different effects on Greenland surface temperatures and snow melt.  (We care about Greenland melt because it contributes to sea level rise.)  We explored this through Earth system modeling studies where we imposed different amounts and different properties of soot in the atmosphere overlying Greenland and in the surface snow.  We found that the atmospheric soot had minimal impact on snow melt because of the competing effects of surface dimming and atmospheric warming described earlier, whereas the snow-deposited soot caused unambiguous surface warming and enhanced snow melt."  

Jamie Ward explains further: 

"Smoke soot particles produced from forest fires can be transported to the snow-covered Greenland Ice Sheet by various circulation processes.  Once these particles reach Greenland, they are so small that they can either be deposited onto the surface or remain in the atmosphere. Because these soot particles are dark, they can absorb sunlight and warm the local environment. Our goal is to determine how the location of soot affected snowmelt and the energy balance at the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet, so we execute a suite of climate model simulations in which we controlled particle location and abundance.  To do this, we use both quantities of soot that have been measured in Greenland and the Arctic, as well as soot quantities that are extremely high for that region. We do this to see how the climate response changes in each scenario (soot in the snow, soot in the atmosphere, etc...) with changing soot amount.