Chasing Clouds or how do Cloud Dynamics Influence Arctic Hydrology

Chasing Clouds or how do Cloud Dynamics Influence Arctic Hydrology

Jordi Cristóbal Rosselló

Sammivik suliffillu:
Pinngortitalerineq / Asiaq – Kalaallit Nunaanni Misissueqqaarneq

Chasing Clouds or how do Cloud Dynamics Influence Arctic Hydrology

Surface air temperatures in the Arctic have shown a significant increase especially in the past few decades. Arctic amplification (more pronounced increases in air temperatures in the Arctic compared to other parts of the globe), is causing significant impact on the environment: the melting of snow and ice, sea-ice retreat, a rise in the global sea level and increases in precipitation and local evaporation are just some of the consequences of the Arctic being a warmer place. Warming processes in the Arctic are strongly linked to cloud cover and water vapor dynamics that influence downward longwave radiation. While clouds reduce the shortwave flux to the surface through their high albedo, cloud cover augments the downward longwave flux to the surface increasing surface warming. Therefore, clouds play a key role in the Arctic by modulating downward and upward surface radiation. The overarching science question addressed by this project is how cloud dynamics influence hydrological processes in the Arctic. To address it, we will integrate remote sensing imagery, field instrumentation and modelling approaches from the plot to the regional scale at Disko Bay to: 1) locally analyze the effect of cloud cover and type on the shortwave and longwave radiation balance and river discharge and; 2) regionally map and validate cloud cover and type.

Inuiaqatigiinnik ilanngussinermik inuiaqatigiinnillu paasissutissiinermut periutsit:
This dataset will be of significant scientific value in better understanding the physical interactions within Greenland ecosystems, especially the hydrologic cycle. Greenland’s future infrastructure development and resource exploration also requires an understanding of the current and projected land surface hydrology as it relates to climate warming trends. In a country that is vast, rugged, and largely not amenable to rigorous field testing, remote sensing arguably provides the only feasible way for mapping and understanding the underlying Earth processes driving the surface changes at large watershed or regional scales. This project is also embedded in the GEM ( research activities and, thus, will cater an active Greenland ecosystem research community. Additionally, this project has the potentiality to yield direct economic benefits for Greenland because local and spatially distributed cloud cover and type is critical for projecting water availability, for managing water as well as for aviation planning. Moreover, more than 40% of the Greenlandic population lives in the Disko Bay area and relies on a subsistence economy based on fishing and hunting. Thus, changes in surface warming patterns may exert a strong influence on these natural resources affecting Disko Bay’s population economy and way of life. A local and spatial quantification of the cloud effects on Arctic warming will help mitigating these effects by serving as crucial input data for local and regional Government planning.
The outcomes of this project will be: a) calibration and validation of the methodology framework (see Fig. 1) using selected data from 2016 to present; b) dataset and maps of cloud cover and type for selected periods from the Disko Bay area; c) submission of at least one scientific paper to a peer-reviewed journal. The resulting cloud type and cover maps will be available through Asiaq’s webpage following OGC international metadata standards. 

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