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Equilibrium State of Jakobshavns Isbræ, West Greenland

  • M.S. Pelto (a1), T.J. Hughes (a1) and H.H. Brecher (a2)
Abstract

Jakobshavns Isbra;, located at 69°10′ Ν on the west coast of Greenland, is the world’s fastest known glacier. Measurement of surface velocities at the calving front in July of 1964, 1976, 1978, 1985, and 1986 yielded a mean velocity of 20.6 m/d. Variation in mean velocity from year to year is less than 1 m/d. Velocity measurements 10 km behind the calving front indicated mean annual velocities of 17.1 m/d compared to mid-summer velocities of 17.6 m/d. The maximum possible decline in winter velocity is then 7%. Calculation of the volume flux into the fjord is 3.72 × 1010 m3 a−1 ± 10%. The surface balance of Jakobshavns Isbræ is 3.37 × 1010 m3 a−1 ± 12%. The agreement between these balance calculations, the long-term stability in glacier velocity, and the reasonably stable glacier front indicate that Jakobshavns Isbræ is in a state of near equilibrium, with probably a small negative balance.

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References
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Bindschadler, R.A. 1984 Jakobshavns glacier drainage basin: a balance assessment. J. Geophys. Res., 89(C2), 20662072.
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Hughes, T.J. 1986 The Jakobshavns effect. Geophys. Res. Lett., 13(1), 4648.
Hughes, T.J. Kollmeyer, R.C.. 1981 Tidal flexure of Jakobshavns Glacier, West Greenland. J. Geophys. Res., 86(B5), 39603968.
Thomsen, H.H. Braithwaite, R.J.. 1987 Use of remote–sensing in modelling run–off from the Greenland ice sheet. Ann. Glaciol., 9, 215217.
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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
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