Greenland and its ice capsImportant contributors to sea level rise
Important but uncertain
A high-resolution approach
A dry climate
Discover the change in mean SMB before/after 1997 by pushing the play button at bottom left of the page
1997 as a tipping point
Before 1997, these two areas were in balance and the ice caps remained stable. After 1997, this situation changed dramatically and Greenland's GICs crossed a tipping point; mass gain in the interior no longer compensated mass loss at the margins. Increased meltwater runoff tripled the mass loss of Greenland's GICs to 36 +-16 Gt/yr.
Changes in the firn layer
Decades of increased melt have saturated the firn and its refreezing capacity has decreased to such a degree that refreezing can no longer compensate for increased meltwater production. As a result, more meltwater runs off to the ocean, accelerating the mass loss.
Ice caps versus ice sheet
Discover the change in mean runoff before/after 1997 by pushing the play button at bottom left of the page
A saturated firn layer
From this state, it would take decades to regrow a healthy firn layer. That is why we call it a tipping point.