Ice Sheet Darkening and Forest Fires

Posted by William Colgan on September 18, 2014
New Research

Slate is featuring the Dark Snow Project. Photos taken this past summer by Jason Box document just how impressively dark the ice sheet surface has become in South Greenland. There a few competing theories on what might be darkening the surface, such as dust, soot and microbes. An emerging idea is the particles released from forest fires. The Slate piece describes how 2014 was not only the darkest ice sheet summer on record, it was also the most intense forest fire summer on record. The darker the ice sheet becomes, the more solar radiation it absorbs, and the faster in melts. A link between forest fires and ice sheet melt would be a rather unexpected climate feedback!

Full Slate article: http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/09/16/jason_box_s_research_into_greenland_s_dark_snow_raises_more_concerns_about.html

Dark Snow Project: http://www.darksnowproject.org

Dark_snow_south_greenland_ice_sheet_surface

The impressively dark ice sheet surface in South Greenland. (from Slate: Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You)

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