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Fire and ice: Wildfires darkening Greenland snowpack, increasing melting

first used thermal images from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to identify large fires in the region. Then they used computer models to project possible smoke particle trajectories, which suggested that the smoke from various fires could indeed reach Greenland.

Finally, they used that information to examine the CALIPSO data, and pinpoint sooty aerosolssmoke cloudsover Greenland.

Because the only way to truly measure the extent to which soot particles enhance melting is to take ice sheet surface samples, Box is organizing a Greenland ice sheet expedition for 2013. The Dark Snow Project ( expedition is to be the first of its kind, made possible by crowd-source funding.

The analysis of the MODIS and CALIPSO data was supported by the Ohio State University's Climate, Water and Carbon initiative. Collaborators on the fire study include Thomas Painter of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and graduate student McKenzie Skiles of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Contact: Pam Frost Gorder
Ohio State University

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