2018 marked Greenland’s coldest summer since 1997

Written by on November 5, 2018 in Rest of World with 0 Comments

It would seem summers have been on a cooling trend over Greenland in recent summers. In 2017, a new July record low of -33C was set at Summit.

Thanks to a strong +NAO last summer, 2018 has been the coolest summer for Greenland in 20 years. Frequent snowfall increased the ‘surface mass budget’ or SMB of the ice cap by nearly 150bn tonnes, slightly less than 2016-17 for 6th highest on record. The SMB calculates snowfall added and glacial ice which melts and runs off into the Atlantic.

Due to a cold May in which Summit Station measured a temperature of -46.3C on the 9th, this marked a new May low for Greenland and delayed the start of the melt season until the end of June.

Fresh snowfall across southern Greenland in early July not only added to the snow/ice pack reducing the melting as the fresh snow reflected incoming solar rays back to space.

By mid August as Europe’s hot pattern flipped, so Greenland’s cold flipped to warm with an increase in southerly winds. These strong winds pulled sea ice away from Greenland’s northern coasts and the foehn effect drove the temperature to a record 17C at Kap Morris Jesup, one of Greenland’s northernmost outposts.

However, temperatures in both August and September got within 1-2C of the monthly cold records. In August, the thermometer dipped to -39C (August record -39.6C) and in September it hit -44, falling just 2C off the September record of -46C.

In October, the temperature dropped to -55.4C.

This surpassed Greenland’s previous October record of -55.2C.


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