Heavy precipitation (ca 30 mm) along with an impressive temperature rise (almost 26°C in 60 hours) and abnormally warm temperatures (up to 18.1°C) occurred between 9 April and 11 April 2016 in Kobbefjord. Within 24 hours, the water level of Badesø in Kobbefjord rose by 0.85 m and thus reached its second highest water level since the start of the measurements. As a consequence of the combination of heavy rain, abrupt temperature rise and likely an unstable snow pack, we observed a number of ‘slush flow’ avalanches, defined as a ‘mudflow-like flowage of water-saturated snow’. Prerequisites are heavy precipitation and high temperatures. Such extreme events are a hazard for infrastructure and along with the recent warming in Greenland there are indications that their frequency increases. The aim of this project funded by the Greenlandic Research Council is therefore to (I) quantify an extreme event in West Greenland and describe conditions that lead to that and (II) assess the potential of Remote Sensing methods for defining the spatial extent of the April 2016 event. Once (I) and (II) have been answered, our longer climate time series will allow for assessment of recurrence times. The project is carried out in collaboration with NORUT, http://www.norut.no
Example of an image taken with an automated camera overlooking Badesø, Kobbefjord. Left: before the event, right: after. Courtesy: GeoBasis, GEM.