Glaciers created a huge ‘flour’ dust storm in Greenland

Posted: November 2, 2018 by oldbrew in climate, News
Tags: ,

Rinks Glacier, West Greenland
[image credit: NSIDC]

NASA says the role of glacier ‘flour’ on climate (if any) remains a mystery.

NASA satellites spotted a massive dust storm over Greenland made up of “glacier flour,” reports LiveScience.

If you’re in Greenland and a strange cloud darkens the sky, that cloud might be made up of something scientists call “glacier flour.”

Researchers have written and speculated about glacier-flour dust storms in Greenland for a long time, according to NASA.

But it took until this September for investigators to spot such a massive plume of the elusive dust forming and drifting 80 miles (130 kilometers) northwest of the far-northern village of Ittoqqortoormiit.

Glacier flour is a fine dust created when glaciers pulverize rocks, NASA wrote. While satellites had occasionally spotted smaller storms of the stuff, this one was “by far the largest.”

“We have seen a few examples of small dust events before this one, but they are quite difficult to spot with satellites because of cloud cover,” Joanna Bullard, a professor of physical geography at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, said in a NASA statement. “When dust events do happen, field data from Iceland and West Greenland indicate that they rarely last longer than two days.”

The flour storm formed when a summer floodplain in the region dried out with late September’s colder weather, leaving behind a large deposit of sediment carried south from more-northern glaciers.

NASA satellites watched the floodplain become grayer and grayer as it dried out, then saw the plume form when strong winds swept through the area on Sept. 29.

Full report here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    NASA: Glacier Flour in Greenland Skies
    September 21 – 30, 2018

    Since high-latitude dust events are poorly understood, they are typically not included in atmospheric and climate models. Gasso hopes that eventually they will be included because they could have effects on air quality, the reflectivity of snow, and even marine biology.
    [includes images of flour storms]

    – – ^ ^ ^ – –
    Note the scale [click on image to enlarge]

  2. saighdear says:

    EH? so WHAT exactly are we being told here? Ah mean, tae say – more fake news? honestly, get a grip! – ‘Glacier flour is a fine dust created when glaciers pulverize rocks’ – isn’t that just the beginnings ( in plain english) of SOIL ? soil blows about here too – can get it at any time of year. In winter we can have that and can lead to bare-ing of the underlying rock when Temps are so cold – dried out peat ( OM) and minerals leave the solid subsoil…. So what’s the deal – or am I missing something?

  3. ivan says:

    What else are they missing in their atmosphere and climate models? Is it any wonder that they always get projections wrong.

    A friend commented some time ago that we know more about Martian atmosphere where we have a few real scientists studying it than we do about our own atmosphere where we have a large number of fake scientists trying to fit what little we know into a political agenda.

    Maybe the IPCC should remember a rather famous statement by Donald Rumsfeld ‘There are known knowns, there are known unknowns and there are unknown unknowns’. and until they start looking for the unknown unknowns they should keep quiet – but then it is all political to assist the UN one world government.

  4. oldbrew says:

    Dust deposition on ice sheets: a mechanism for termination of ice ages?
    Posted on October 2, 2016 by curryja
    by Donald Rapp

    In a recent paper, Ellis and Palmer (2016) proposed that deposition of dust on giant ice sheets, thus reducing their albedo, was a principal factor in the termination of Ice Ages over the past 800 kyrs.
    – – –
    A more recent post: Towards an understanding of Ice Ages
    Posted on October 31, 2018 by Clive Best

    An Ice model driven by NH insolation but adjusted for dust albedo does a pretty good job at reproducing the last 8 glacial cycles. Details are described below.

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