Andreas Westergaard-Nielsen et al. Contrasting temperature trends across the ice-free part of Greenland. Scientific Reports, volume 8, Article number: 1586 (2018)
Temperature changes in the Arctic have notable impacts on ecosystem structure and functioning, on soil carbon dynamics, and on the stability of permafrost, thus affecting ecosystem functions and putting man-built infrastructure at risk. Future warming in the Arctic could accelerate important feedbacks in permafrost degradation processes. Therefore it is important to map vulnerable areas most likely to be impacted by temperature changes and at higher risk of degradation, particularly near communities, to assist adaptation to climate change. Currently, these areas are poorly assessed, especially in Greenland. Here we quantify trends in satellite-derived land surface temperatures and modelled air temperatures, validated against observations, across the entire ice-free Greenland. Focus is on the past 30 years, to characterize significant changes and potentially vulnerable regions at a 1 km resolution. We show that recent temperature trends in Greenland vary significantly between seasons and regions and that data with resolutions down to single km2 are critical to map temperature changes for guidance of further local studies and decision-making. Only a fraction of the ice-free Greenland seems vulnerable due to warming when analyzing year 2001–2015, but the most pronounced changes are found in the most populated parts of Greenland. As Greenland represents important gradients of north/south coast/inland/distance to large ice sheets, the conclusions are also relevant in an upscaling to greater Arctic areas.