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Surface mass-balance observations and automatic weather station data along a transect near Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland

  • R.S.W. van de Wal (a1), W. Greuell (a1), M.R. van den Broeke (a1), C.H. Reijmer (a1) and J. Oerlemans (a1)...
Abstract

Surface mass-balance data from the Kangerlussuaq transect (K-transect) located on the western part of the Greenland ice sheet near 67° N are presented. The series covers the period 1990-2003 and is the longest series of surface mass-balance measurements in Greenland. The surface mass-balance measurements cover an altitude range of 390-1850 m and show a linear increase of the specific mass balance, with a mass-balance gradient of 3.7 × 10–3 m m–1 and a mean equilibrium-line altitude of 1535 ma.s.l. Interannual variability shows a weak 4 yearly periodicity. In addition to the surface mass-balance data, automatic weather station data at an elevation of approximately 1010m are available for the period 1997-2002. These data are used to explain observed surface mass-balance anomalies over the same 5 years. It is shown that variations in shortwave radiation dominate interannual variability. The mean annual cycle of temperature is characterized by a maximum in summer around the melting point, leading to a mean summer outgoing longwave radiation of approximately 314 W–2. The mean annual cycle in wind speed shows a maximum in winter (on average around 8 m s–1) and a minimum in summer (on average around around 5 m s–1), which is characteristic for a katabatic forcing. During summer the net radiation is on average about 61 Wm–2, which is used for ice melting at a rate of typically 2 cm w.e.d-1. Net radiation contributes 84% of the total energy used for summer melting averaged over the 5 years.

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References
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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
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