EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Analyzing Near Surface Temperature Inversions Across the Greenland Ice Sheet Using In-situ, Remote Sensing, and Reanalysis Data

Alden Adolph1, Wesley Brown1, Karina Zikan1, and Robert Fausto2
Alden Adolph et al.
  • 1St. Olaf College, Physics, Northfield MN, United States of America (
  • 2Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Copenhagen, Denmark

As Arctic temperatures have increased, the Greenland Ice Sheet has exhibited a negative mass balance, with a substantial and increasing fraction of mass loss due to surface melt. Understanding surface energy exchange processes in Greenland is critical for our ability to predict changes in mass balance. In-situ and remotely sensed surface temperatures are useful for monitoring trends, melt events, and surface energy balance processes, but these observations are complicated by the fact that surface temperatures and near surface air temperatures can significantly differ due to the presence of inversions that exist across the Arctic. Our previous work shows that even in the summer, very near surface inversions are present between the 2m air and surface temperatures a majority of the time at Summit, Greenland. In this study, we expand upon these results and combine a variety of data sources to quantify differences between surface snow/ice temperatures and 2m air temperatures across the Greenland Ice Sheet and investigate controls on the magnitude of these near surface temperature inversions. In-situ temperatures, wind speed, specific humidity, and albedo data are provided from automatic weather stations operated by the Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet (PROMICE). We use the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) cloud area fraction data to analyze effects of cloud presence on near surface temperature gradients. The in-situ temperatures are compared to Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications Version 2 (MERRA-2) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) ice surface temperature data to extend findings across the ice sheet. Using PROMICE in-situ data from 2015, we find that these 2m temperature inversions are present 77% of the time, with a median strength of 1.7°C. The data confirm that the presence of clouds weakens inversions. Initial results indicate a RMSE of 3.9°C between MERRA-2 and PROMICE 2m air temperature, and a RMSE of 5.6°C between the two datasets for surface temperature. Improved understanding of controls on near surface inversions is important for use of remotely sensed snow surface temperatures and for modeling of surface mass and energy exchange processes.

How to cite: Adolph, A., Brown, W., Zikan, K., and Fausto, R.: Analyzing Near Surface Temperature Inversions Across the Greenland Ice Sheet Using In-situ, Remote Sensing, and Reanalysis Data , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10670,, 2020

This abstract will not be presented.