Greenland ice sheet rainfall climatology, extremes and atmospheric river rapids

Jason E. Box, Kristian P. Nielsen, Xiaohua Yang, Masashi Niwano, Adrien Wehrlé, Dirk van As, Xavier Fettweis, Morten A.Ø. Køltzow, Bolli Palmason, Robert S. Fausto, Michiel R. van den Broeke, Baojuan Huai, Andreas P. Ahlstrøm, Kirsty Langley, Armin Dachauer, Brice Noël

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review

1 Citationer (Scopus)


Greenland rainfall has come into focus as a climate change indicator and from a variety of emerging cryospheric impacts. This study first evaluates rainfall in five state-of-the-art numerical prediction systems (NPSs) (CARRA, ERA5, NHM-SMAP, RACMO, MAR) using in situ rainfall data from two regions spanning from land onto the ice sheet. The new EU Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) Arctic Regional ReAnalysis (CARRA), with a relatively fine (2.5 km) horizontal grid spacing and extensive within-model-domain observational initialization, has the lowest average bias and highest explained variance relative to the field data. ERA5 inland wet bias versus CARRA is consistent with the field data and other research and is presumably due to more ERA5 topographic smoothing. A CARRA climatology 1991–2021 has rainfall increasing by more than one-third for the ice sheet and its peripheral ice masses. CARRA and in situ data illuminate extreme (above 300 mm per day) local rainfall episodes. A detailed examination CARRA data reveals the interplay of mass conservation that splits flow around southern Greenland and condensational buoyancy generation that maintains along-flow updraft ‘rapids’ 2 km above sea level, which produce rain bands within an atmospheric river interacting with Greenland. CARRA resolves gravity wave oscillations that initiate as a result of buoyancy offshore, which then amplify from terrain-forced uplift. In a detailed case study, CARRA resolves orographic intensification of rainfall by up to a factor of four, which is consistent with the field data.

Antal sider24
TidsskriftMeteorological Applications
Udgave nummer4
StatusUdgivet - 1 jul. 2023


  • Programområde 5: Natur og klima


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