end of snow drought and persistent sub-freezing for W Greenland

I’d reported on a highly abnormal snow drought that with more bare ground produced large negative albedo anomalies along west Greenland (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Greenland reflectivity below 500 m elevation, including land areas. Notice the extreme low anomaly for 2013 that is by now erased.

Well, after about 4 months (1 Jun – 20 April) of that type of anomaly, the pendulum swung back late April, 2013, delivering a ~5 week return of snow showers that brought up to 300% of the normal snow for that period (Fig. 2) and relative cool weather (Fig. 3).  

Figure 2. End of snow drought. Blue and purple areas indicate abnormally high precipitation.

The snow drought is not actually ended everywhere. Along northeast Greenland, snow accumulation remains well below normal, 20% of normal for 1-Jan – 25 May. A @Promice_GL field workers had to transport from Zackenberg station to AP Oleson ice cap using a Argo track vehicle instead of snowmobiles.

Figure 3. Persistent cold for Greenland between 24 April and 19 May.

With the exception of melting 21-25 May, cold has been in place since 24 April. It’s clear now from the forecast for early June 2013 that temperatures will remain below freezing along much of west Greenland. It’s not extremely cold, just not yet melting much.