Rare Arctic Hurricane Dampens Historic Greenland Melting

by Msnbctv news staff

As soon as a raging tropical cyclone, the remnants of Hurricane Larry have reworked right into a howling winter storm.

After pummeling the coast of Newfoundland final week, after which careening east throughout the northern Atlantic, Larry brushed previous the southeastern coast of Greenland throughout the previous few days—a uncommon feat for a former Atlantic hurricane.

The storm dumped blankets of snow and raised robust winds because it blew previous the Arctic island. The Danish Meteorological Institute reported gusts of over 90 mph at some climate stations.

Danish analysis institutes estimate that Greenland gained almost 10 billion tons of additional snow and ice in a single day on Sunday. Extra snow was anticipated to build up yesterday and at the moment.

Larry maintained hurricane standing all the best way to Newfoundland earlier than changing right into a post-tropical cyclone because it veered towards Greenland. Put up-tropical cyclones have totally different traits than hurricanes, typically creating a chilly core as a substitute of the nice and cozy middle frequent to tropical cyclones, however they’ll nonetheless produce hurricane-force winds.

It’s an uncommon trajectory for an Atlantic hurricane, however not extraordinary. The final storm that made landfall in Newfoundland as a real hurricane was Maria in 2011, only one 12 months after Hurricane Igor struck the island in 2010.

It’s extra uncommon for a storm with tropical origins to strike Greenland. The final one was Hurricane Noel in 2007, which transitioned right into a post-tropical system because it drifted up by means of New England and jap Canada, ultimately hanging southwest Greenland earlier than shifting east throughout the Atlantic.

It’s unclear whether or not Atlantic hurricanes are shifting farther north over time. In different elements of the world, analysis means that local weather change is inflicting tropical cyclones emigrate towards the poles. Meaning coastal communities that have been not often threatened by cyclones prior to now could also be at higher threat sooner or later.

Within the Atlantic Ocean, the info is much less clear. Nonetheless, consultants warning that warming ocean waters assist hurricanes develop extra intense—and so they might improve the chances that the uncommon northern storm stays stronger for longer (Climatewire, Aug. 23).

Larry’s uncommon observe is the newest oddity in an eventful summer time for the Greenland ice sheet.

The season started with below-average soften charges and above-average beneficial properties in snow and ice, in response to the Nationwide Snow & Ice Information Heart. By July, although, the tables had turned. Above-average temperatures, coupled with a low-pressure system that helped drive heat air over southern Greenland, precipitated two back-to-back melting occasions throughout the ice sheet within the second half of July.

Scientists estimated that 12.5 billion tons of ice melted and ran off the ice sheet in a single day, on July 28. That’s the third largest one-day melting occasion in recorded historical past, topped solely by related occasions in 2019 and 2012.

One other robust melting occasion struck the ice sheet in mid-August. There had by no means been such a big melting day so late within the season, in response to NSIDC.

Then, on Aug. 14, scientists reported a surprising occasion on the Nationwide Science Basis’s Summit Station, a analysis outpost perched close to the very best level on the Greenland ice sheet: It was raining.

It was the primary time in recorded historical past that rain had ever been noticed on the summit, round 2 miles above sea degree, the place temperatures not often rise above freezing.

After the mid-August melting occasion, satellite tv for pc pictures and aerial analysis flights revealed deep-blue soften ponds scattered broadly throughout the white floor of the ice sheet.

“On the transit to Kangerlussuaq, we flew over [a] set of huge soften ponds and rivers that had begun to refreeze,” tweeted NASA scientist Josh Willis, shortly after the soften occasion. “Our Captain Jim Haffey, who’s flown the ice sheet for 25 years, mentioned it was extra soften than he’d ever seen.”

Greenland’s greatest soften years on file have been 2019 and 2012. Soften charges have been highest in 2012. However the whole quantity of ice loss was larger in 2019, doubtless as a result of snowfall was unusually low that 12 months. Scientists estimate that the ice sheet misplaced about 532 billion tons of ice in 2019.

Scientists venture that robust melting occasions will turn out to be extra frequent on the Greenland ice sheet because the Arctic local weather continues to heat. That’s a priority for coastal communities everywhere in the world. As ice melts and runs into the ocean, it raises world sea ranges.

The snowfall from Larry, whereas uncommon, is a welcome addition to the Greenland ice sheet’s mass steadiness after such robust melting earlier this summer time.

“Excellent news for the ice sheet the place no vital soften or rainfall is forecasted,” tweeted Xavier Fettweis, a local weather scientist on the College of Liège, because the storm approached Greenland over the weekend. “Solely snow!”

Reprinted from E&E Information with permission from POLITICO, LLC. Copyright 2021. E&E Information supplies important information for power and setting professionals.

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