Greenland melt season kicks off slowly in 2015; the new abnormal

Sitting here in Kangerlussuaq west Greenland expecting not a large melt year. Like another late melt season, 2013, a sticky atmospheric circulation pattern in the past 5 months has favored cold air transport down the west coast of the island.

windshield snow 8 June, 2015 Kangerlussuaq west Greenland

windshield snow 8 June, 2015 Kangerlussuaq west Greenland

The story goes like this…

Below average temperatures…

have promoted above average surface albedo, see red areas…



…above average albedo everywhere except the south southeast where precipitation is below average.


…caused in not a small degree by persistent atmospheric circulation anomalies, the hallmark of inter-annual variability.

SLP 2015

28 May, 2015, the heat turned on and albedo responded…


…but temperatures remain below normal…



All this has me expect it would take quite the opposite pattern for 2015 melt to hit the high melt in 2014 (in fits and spurts, with warmest June on record here in ‘Kanger’, west Greenland), extreme melt in 2012, 2010, high melt in 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007. The past warm episodes were due to persistent atmospheric circulation, a.k.a., stick weather patterns, favoring heating of west Greenland. What we have in 2015 and in 2013 the sticky cold pattern opposite.

There is evidence, two most recent of a growing list of citations, of Arctic warming slowing the jet stream, causing it to meander more, creating sticky weather patterns. Welcome to the new abnormal.