Effects of Extratropical Cyclone Frequency and Intensity on mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Jeff Auger1, Sean D Birkel1, Kirk Allen Maasch2 and Paul Andrew Mayewski3, (1)University of Maine, Orono, ME, United States, (2)Univ Maine, Orono, ME, United States, (3)University of Maine, Climate Change Institute, Orono, ME, United States
Significant Arctic-wide warming over the past decade is thought to result in part from a weakening of the equator-pole thermal gradient in the atmosphere. Francis and Vavrus (2012) and others link Arctic amplification, or enhanced Arctic warming, to decreasing extratropical cyclone (ETC) speeds, and increasing northward meridional heat transports. Here, we are using the latest high-resolution reanalysis models (ASR, JRA-55, CFSR, ERA-Interim, MERRA) to evaluate how Arctic amplification may be impacting the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Our approach is to assess synoptic-scale changes in circulation as represented by changes in storm tracks and storm intensities in the North Atlantic region. As part of this work, we are validating the reanalysis models against existing accumulation, ablation, and meteorological station data available across Greenland, and therefore hope to gain insights on model performance and applicability to the problem domain.