Soot from forest fires contributed to unusually large Greenland surface melt in 2012

Greenland surface melt on two separate days in July 2012, the latter after high temperatures and soot from forest fires triggered widespread melting. Image courtesy of Dorothy Hall, NASA/GSFC. Source: Keegan et al., ( 2014)
Surface melting doesn't contribute to sea level rise because the water percolates back into the snow and refreezes. But it does reduce the reflectivity of the ice, known as albedo, with consequences for how much sunlight the Arctic region absorbs, and how much ice stays frozen. Together, with soot which also decreases reflectivity, the ice albedo was pushed below a certain threshold in 1889 and 2012, making it vulnerable to rapid ice loss, say the authors. Lead author Kaitlin Keegan explains such big surface melting events won't be out of place by 2100: "With both the frequency of forest fires and warmer temperatures predicted to increase with climate change, widespread melt events are likely to happen much more frequently in the future."
(The text for the image(s) on this Web page was taken from the above source.)