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Greenland's future climate

Changes in the volume of the ice sheet are determined by changes in temperature and in amount of snowfall during the year. Model predictions show that climate changes in Greenland cause ice sheet reductions. Photo Jesper S. Jorgensen.

The DMI's high resolution (25 km) calculations of regional climate change in and around Greenland up to 2080 based on the A1B scenario show a general temperature increase of 7-8°C in winter and spring. This is considerably more than the increase obtained with a coarse-resolution global model. 

Along the east coast of Greenland, a winter temperature increase of as much as 12°C is projected. Warming is generally projected to be strongest in winter, followed by spring. Temperature changes in summer and autumn will be much smaller and on the order of 3-4°C. Projections show that the number of extremely cold days is expected to be declining.

The calculations also show minor changes in precipitation along the west coast while rainfalls are projected to double along the east coast and triple in the interior of the fjords. This is mainly due to the increased resolution, where precipitation falls in the fjords rather than over sea as in lower resolutions.

As a consequence, earlier snowmelt and retraction of the ice edge are expected - especially along the east coast.

By Martin Stendel.

Edited by Niels Hansen and Carsten Ankjær Ludwigsen, translated by Marianne Brandt,