by Brooks Hays, June 24, 2019 in UPI
June 24 (UPI) — Predicting where, how and how quickly Greenland’s ice will melt is difficult. Projections by the best models are cloudy, and new research suggests clouds are doing the clouding.
Currently, models of Greenland’s melting ice sheet put the greatest emphasis on the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions. But new research, published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests the microphysics of clouds are equally important.
Under high emission scenarios, the uncertainties of Greenland ice sheet models are caused almost entirely by the uncertainties of cloud dynamics.
Cloud cover dictates the ice sheet’s longwave radiation exposure. When clouds over Greenland are thicker, they operate like an insulating blanket, encouraging longwave radiation and surface-level melting.