Remote Sensing Lab

The Greenland Icesheet - Surface Melt

Surface Melt of the Greenland Icesheet: 1979-2008


Greenland Surface Melt Sectors

Surface melting on the Greenland Ice Sheet is an important indicator of Arctic terrestrial climate change much as the observations of dwindling Arctic sea-ice document climate change over the polar ocean. Most surface melt studies are conducted using satellite based observations. The longest continuous time-series of satellite measurements available for Greenland is from passive microwave sensors (since December 1972). More recently higher resolution scatterometer and optical data are complementing the passive microwave data set.

Here, we provide annual estimates of surface melt extent of the Greenland Ice-Sheet from Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR, 1979-1987) and Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I, 1987-2008). We have used a wavelet-based edge detection technique for melt detection.

We have also calculated surface melt from Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT, 2000-2008) to provide independent comparison and validation of the calculated melt area from passive microwave.

Here we are providing the annual total melt-area extent calculated from passive microwave and QuikSCAT. We are also providing annual sector-by-sector melt-area data (calculated from passive microwave). For delineation of sector, refer to Bhattacharya et al. [2009].

All the data is provided in ASCII format.

For detailed description of our methodology and results please refer to the published journals. For any further question please contact or

Active Microwave Data

Passive Microwave Data