Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Greenland ice sheet mass balance: distribution of increased mass loss with climate warming; 2003–07 versus 1992–2002

Abstract

We derive mass changes of the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) for 2003–07 from ICESat laser altimetry and compare them with results for 1992–2002 from ERS radar and airborne laser altimetry. The GIS continued to grow inland and thin at the margins during 2003–07, but surface melting and accelerated flow significantly increased the marginal thinning compared with the 1990s. The net balance changed from a small loss of 7 ± 3 Gt a−1 in the 1990s to 171 ± 4 Gt a−1 for 2003–07, contributing 0.5 mm a−1 to recent global sea-level rise. We divide the derived mass changes into two components: (1) from changes in melting and ice dynamics and (2) from changes in precipitation and accumulation rate. We use our firn compaction model to calculate the elevation changes driven by changes in both temperature and accumulation rate and to calculate the appropriate density to convert the accumulation-driven changes to mass changes. Increased losses from melting and ice dynamics (17–206 Gt a−1) are over seven times larger than increased gains from precipitation (10–35 Gt a−1) during a warming period of ∼2 K (10 a)−1 over the GIS. Above 2000 m elevation, the rate of gain decreased from 44 to 28 Gt a−1, while below 2000 m the rate of loss increased from 51 to 198 Gt a−1. Enhanced thinning below the equilibrium line on outlet glaciers indicates that increased melting has a significant impact on outlet glaciers, as well as accelerating ice flow. Increased thinning at higher elevations appears to be induced by dynamic coupling to thinning at the margins on decadal timescales.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Greenland ice sheet mass balance: distribution of increased mass loss with climate warming; 2003–07 versus 1992–2002
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Greenland ice sheet mass balance: distribution of increased mass loss with climate warming; 2003–07 versus 1992–2002
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Greenland ice sheet mass balance: distribution of increased mass loss with climate warming; 2003–07 versus 1992–2002
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
References
Hide All
Abdalati, W. and 9 others. 2001. Outlet glacier and margin elevation changes: near-coastal thinning of the Greenland ice sheet. J. Geophys. Res., 106(D24), 33,72933,742.
Alley, R.B., Spencer, M.K. and Anandakrishnan, S.. 2007. Ice-sheet mass balance: assessment, attribution and prognosis. Ann. Glaciol., 46, 17.
Monitoring, Arctic and Programme, Assessment (AMAP). 2009. Summary: the Greenland ice sheet in a changing climate: Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA). Oslo, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme.
Bartholomew, I., Nienow, P., Mair, D., Hubbard, A., King, M.A. and Sole, A.. 2010. Seasonal evolution of subglacial drainage and acceleration in a Greenland outlet glacier. Nature Geosci., 3(6), 408411.
Box, J.E. and 8 others. 2006. Greenland ice sheet surface mass balance variability (1988–2004) from calibrated polar MM5 output. J. Climate, 19(12), 27832800.
Box, J.E., Yang, L., Bromwich, D.H. and Bai, L.-S.. 2009. Greenland ice sheet surface air temperature variability: 1840–2007. J. Climate, 22(14), 40294049.
Clausen, H.B., Gundestrup, N.S., Johnsen, S.J., Bindschadler, R. and Zwally, J.. 1988. Glaciological investigations in the Crête area, central Greenland: a search for a new deep-drilling site. Ann. Glaciol., 10, 1015.
Comiso, J.C. 2003. Warming trends in the Arctic from clear satellite observations. J. Climate, 16(21), 34983510.
Davis, C.H., Li, Y., McConnell, J.R., Frey, M.M. and Hanna, E.. 2005. Snowfall-driven growth in East Antarctic ice sheet mitigates recent sea-level rise. Science, 308(5730), 18981901.
Hall, D.K., Williams, R.S. Jr, Luthcke, S.B. and Digirolamo, N.E.. 2008. Greenland ice sheet surface temperature, melt and mass loss: 2000–2006. J. Glaciol., 54(184), 8193.
Hanna, E., Huybrechts, P., Janssens, I., Cappelen, J., Steffen, K. and Stephens, A.. 2005. Runoff and mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet: 1958–2003. J. Geophys. Res., 110(D13), D13108. (10.1029/2004JD005641.)
Hanna, E. and 8 others. 2008. Increased runoff from melt from the Greenland Ice Sheet: a response to global warming. J. Climate, 21(2), 331341.
Helsen, M.M. and 7 others. 2008. Elevation changes in Antarctica mainly determined by accumulation variability. Science, 320(5883), 16261629.
Holland, D.M., Thomas, R.H., de Young, B., Ribergaard, M.H. and Lyberth, B.. 2008. Acceleration of Jakobshavn Isbræ triggered by warm subsurface ocean waters. Nature Geosci., 1(10), 659664.
Huybrechts, P. 2002. Sea-level changes at the LGM from ice-dynamic reconstructions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets during the glacial cycles. Quat. Sci. Rev., 21(1–3), 203231.
Huybrechts, P. and de Wolde, J.. 1999. The dynamic response of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to multiple-century climatic warming. J. Climate, 12(8), 21692188.
Ivins, E.R., Wu, X., Raymond, C.A., Yoder, C.F. and James, T.S.. 2001. Temporal geoid of a rebounding Antarctica and potential measurement by the GRACE and GOCE satellites. In Sideris, M.G., ed. Gravity, Geoid and Geodynamics 2000: GGG2000 IAG International Symposium, 31 July–4 August 2000, Banff, Alberta, Canada,. Berlin, Springer, 361366. (International Association of Geodesy Symposia 123.)
Johannessen, O.M., Khvorostovsky, K., Miles, M.W. and Bobylev, L.P.. 2005. Recent ice-sheet growth in the interior of Greenland. Science, 310(5750), 10131016.
Joughin, I. and 7 others. 2008a. Continued evolution of Jakobshavn Isbræ following its rapid speedup. J. Geophys. Res., 113(F4), F04006. (10.1029/2008JF001023.)
Joughin, I., Das, S.B., King, M.A., Smith, B.E., Howat, I.M. and Moon, T.. 2008b. Seasonal speedup along the western flank of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Science, 320(5877), 781783.
Krabill, W.B. and 9 others. 2000. Greenland ice sheet: high-elevation balance and peripheral thinning. Science, 289(5478), 428430.
Li, J. and Zwally, H.J.. In press. Modeling of firn compaction for estimating ice-sheet mass change from observed ice-sheet elevation change. Ann. Glaciol., 52(59).
Li, J., Zwally, H.J. and Comiso, J.C.. 2007. Ice-sheet elevation changes caused by variations of the firn compaction rate induced by satellite-observed temperature variations (1982–2003). Ann. Glaciol., 46, 813.
Luthcke, S.B. and 8 others. 2006. Recent Greenland ice mass loss by drainage system from satellite gravity observations. Science, 314(5803), 12861289.
Luthcke, S.B. and 6 others. 2009. Recent changes in the Earth’s land ice from GRACE: methods, signals and error. [Abstr. H13G-02.] Eos, 90(52), Fall Meet. Suppl.
Nick, F.M., Vieli, A., Howat, I.M. and Joughin, I.. 2009. Large-scale changes in Greenland outlet glacier dynamics triggered at the terminus. Nature Geosci., 2(2), 110114.
Peltier, W.R. 2004. Global glacial isostatic adjustment and the surface of the ice-age Earth: the ICE-5G(VM2) model and GRACE. Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 32, 111149.
Pritchard, H.D., Arthern, R.J., Vaughan, D.G. and Edwards, L.A.. 2009. Extensive dynamic thinning on the margins of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Nature, 461(7266), 971975.
Rignot, E. and Kanagaratnam, P.. 2006. Changes in the velocity structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Science, 311(5673), 986990.
Shepherd, A. and Wingham, D.. 2007. Recent sea-level contributions of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Science, 315(5818), 15291532.
Solomon, S. and 7 others, eds. 2007. Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, etc., Cambridge University Press.
Straneo, F. and 7 others. 2010. Rapid circulation of warm subtropical waters in a major glacial fjord in East Greenland. Nature Geosci., 3(33), 182186.
Thomas, R.H., Rignot, E.J., Kanagaratnam, K., Krabill, W.B. and Casassa, G.. 2004. Force-perturbation analysis of Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica, suggests cause for recent acceleration. Ann. Glaciol., 39, 133138.
Thomas, R., Frederick, E., Krabill, W., Manizade, S. and Martin, C.. 2006. Progressive increase in ice loss from Greenland. Geophys. Res. Lett., 33(10), L10503. (10.1029/2006GL026075.)
Thomas, R., Frederick, E., Krabill, W., Manizade, S. and Martin, C.. 2009. Recent changes on Greenland outlet glaciers. J. Glaciol., 55(189), 147162.
Van de Wal, R.S.W. and 6 others. 2008. Large and rapid melt-induced velocity changes in the ablation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Science, 321(5885), 111113.
Wingham, D.J., Shepherd, A., Muir, A. and Marshall, G.J.. 2006. Mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London, Ser. A, 364(1844), 16271635.
Wouters, B., Chambers, D. and Schrama, E.J.O.. 2008. GRACE observes small-scale mass loss in Greenland. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35(2), L20501. (10.1029/2008GL034816.)
Zwally, H.J. and Giovinetto, M.B.. 1997. Areal distribution of the oxygen-isotope ratio in Greenland. Ann. Glaciol., 25, 208213.
Zwally, H.J. and Giovinetto, M.B.. 2001. Balance mass flux and ice velocity across the equilibrium line in drainage systems of Greenland. J. Geophys. Res., 106(D24), 33,71733,728.
Zwally, H.J. and Li, J.. 2002. Seasonal and interannual variations of firn densification and ice-sheet surface elevation at Greenland summit. J. Glaciol., 48(161), 199207.
Zwally, H.J. and 15 others. 2002a. ICESat’s laser measurements of polar ice, atmosphere, ocean and land. J. Geodyn., 34(3–4), 405445.
Zwally, H.J., Abdalati, W., Herring, T., Larson, K., Saba, J. and Steffen, K.. 2002b. Surface melt-induced acceleration of Greenland ice-sheet flow. Science, 297(5579), 218222.
Zwally, H.J. and 7 others. 2005. Mass changes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and shelves and contributions to sea-level rise: 1992–2002. J. Glaciol., 51(175), 509527.
Zwally, H.J., Yi, D., Kwok, R. and Zhao, Y.. 2008. ICESat measurements of sea ice freeboard and estimates of sea ice thickness in the Weddell Sea. J. Geophys. Res., 113(C2), C02S15. (10.1029/2007JC004284.)
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0022-1430
  • EISSN: 1727-5652
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-glaciology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 38
Total number of PDF views: 102 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 291 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 8th September 2017 - 19th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.