Surface processes currently dominate Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) mass loss. We review recent developments in the observation and modeling of GrIS surface mass balance (SMB), published after the July 2012 deadline for the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5). Since IPCC AR5, our understanding of GrIS SMB has further improved, but new observational and model studies have also revealed that temporal and spatial variability of many processes are still poorly quantified and understood, e.g., bio-albedo, the formation of ice lenses and their impact on lateral meltwater transport, heterogeneous vertical meltwater transport (‘piping’), the impact of atmospheric-circulation changes and mixed-phase clouds on the surface energy balance, and the magnitude of turbulent heat exchange over rough ice surfaces. As a result, these processes are only schematically or not at all included in models that are currently used to assess and predict future GrIS surface mass loss.
- Programområde 5: Natur og klima