Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Ice flow dynamics and surface meltwater flux at a land-terminating sector of the Greenland ice sheet

  • Andrew A.W. Fitzpatrick (a1), Alun Hubbard (a1), Ian Joughin (a2), Duncan J. Quincey (a3), Dirk Van As (a4), Andreas P.B. Mikkelsen (a5), Samuel H. Doyle (a1), Bent Hasholt (a5) and Glenn A. Jones (a1)...
Abstract

We present satellite-derived velocity patterns for the two contrasting melt seasons of 2009–10 across Russell Glacier catchment, a western, land-terminating sector of the Greenland ice sheet which encompasses the K(angerlussuaq)-transect. Results highlight great spatial heterogeneity in flow, indicating that structural controls such as bedrock geometry govern ice discharge into individual outlet troughs. Results also reveal strong seasonal flow variability extending 57 km up-glacier to 1200 m elevation, with the largest acceleration (100% over 11 days) occurring within 10 km of the margin coincident with spring melt. By late July 2010, 2 weeks before peak melt and runoff, 48 % of the 2400 km2 catchment had slowed to less than the winter mean. This observation supports the hypothesis that the subglacial hydrological system evolves from an inefficient distributed to an efficient drainage system, regulating flow dynamics. Despite this, the cumulative surface flux over the record melt year of 2010 was still greater compared with the perturbation over the average melt year of 2009. This study supports the proposition that local surface meltwater runoff couples to basal hydrology driving ice-sheet dynamics, and although the effect is nonlinear, our observations indicate that greater meltwater runoff yields increased net flux over this sector of the ice sheet.

  • 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.

      Ice flow dynamics and surface meltwater flux at a land-terminating sector of the Greenland ice sheet
      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.

      Ice flow dynamics and surface meltwater flux at a land-terminating sector of the Greenland ice sheet
      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.

      Ice flow dynamics and surface meltwater flux at a land-terminating sector of the Greenland ice sheet
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Copyright © International Glaciological Society 2013 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license. (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
Hide All
Bartholomew, I, Nienow, P, Mair, D, Hubbard, A, King, MA and Sole, A (2010) Seasonal evolution of subglacial drainage and acceleration in a Greenland outlet glacier. Nature Geosci., 3(6), 408411 (doi: 10.1038/ngeo863)
Bartholomew, ID and 6 others (2011) Seasonal variations in Greenland Ice Sheet motion: inland extent and behaviour at higher elevations. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 307(3–4), 271278 (doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2011.04.014)
Das, SB and 6 others (2008) Fracture propagation to the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet during supraglacial lake drainage. Science, 320(5877), 778781 (doi: 10.1126/science.1153360)
Doyle, SH and 9 others (2012) Ice tectonics during the rapid tapping of a supraglacial lake on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Cryos. Discuss., 6(5), 38633889 (doi: 10.5194/tcd-6-3863-2012)
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 (doi: 10.1029/2004JD005641)
Harper, J, Humphrey, N, Pfeffer, WT, Brown, J and Fettweis, X (2012) Greenland ice-sheet contribution to sea-level rise buffered by meltwater storage in firn. Nature, 491(7423), 240243 (doi: 10.1038/nature11566)
Hasholt, B, Mikkelsen, AB, Nielsen, MH and Larsen, MAD (2012) Observations of runoff and sediment and dissolved loads from the Greenland ice sheet at Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland, 2007 to 2010. Z. Geomorph., Supplementary Issue (doi: 10.1127/0372-8854/2012/S-00121)
Hooke, RLeB, Calla, P, Holmlund, P, Nilsson, M and Stroeven, A (1989) A 3 year record of seasonal variations in surface velocity, Storglaciären, Sweden. J. Glaciol., 35(120), 235247
Humphrey, NF, Harper, JT and Pfeffer, WT (2012) Thermal tracking of meltwater retention in Greenland’s accumulation area. J. Geophys. Res., 117(F1), F01010 (doi: 10.1029/2011JF002083)
Joughin, I (2002) Ice-sheet velocity mapping: a combined interferometric and speckle-tracking approach. Ann. Glaciol., 34, 195201 (doi: 10.3189/172756402781817978)
Joughin, I, Das, SB, King, MA, Smith, BE, Howat, IM and Moon, T (2008) Seasonal speedup along the western flank of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Science, 320(5877), 781783 (doi: 10.1126/science.1153288)
Joughin, I, Smith, B, Howat, IM, Scambos, T and Moon, T (2010a) MEaSUREs Greenland ice sheet velocity map from InSAR data. National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, CO Digital media:http://nsidc.org/data/docs/measures/nsidc0478_joughin
Joughin, I, Smith, BE, Howat, IM, Scambos, T and Moon, T (2010b) Greenland flow variability from ice-sheet-wide velocity mapping. J. Glaciol., 56(197), 415430 (doi: 10.3189/002214310792447734)
Leprince, S, Barbot, S, Ayoub, F and Avouac, J-P (2007) Automatic and precise orthorectification, coregistration, and subpixel correlation of satellite images: application to ground deformation measurements. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., 45(6), 15291558 (doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2006.888937)
Luckman, A, Murray, T, Jiskoot, H, Pritchard, H and Strozzi, T (2003) ERS SAR feature-tracking measurement of outlet glacier velocities on a regional scale in East Greenland. Ann. Glaciol., 36, 129134 (doi: 10.3189/172756403781816428)
Moon, T, Joughin, I, Smith, B and Howat, I (2012) 21st-century evolution of Greenland outlet glacier velocities. Science, 336(6081), 576578 (doi: 10.1126/science.1219985)
Palmer, S, Shepherd, A, Nienow, P and Joughin, I (2011) Seasonal speedup of the Greenland Ice Sheet linked to routing of surface water. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 302(3–4), 423428 (doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2010.12.037)
Rignot, E and Kanagaratnam, P (2006) Changes in the velocity structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Science, 311(5673), 986990 (doi: 10.1126/science.1121381)
Schoof, C (2010) Ice-sheet acceleration driven by melt supply variability. Nature, 468(7325), 803806 (doi: 10.1038/nature09618)
Shepherd, A, Hubbard, A, Nienow, P, McMillan, M and Joughin, I (2009) Greenland ice sheet motion coupled with daily melting in late summer. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36(1), L01501 (doi: 10.1029/2008GL035758)
Strozzi, T, Luckman, A, Murray, T, Wegmuller, U and Werner, CL (2002) Glacier motion estimation using satellite-radar offset-tracking procedures. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., 40(11), 2834–2391 (doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2002.805079)
Sundal, AV, Shepherd, A, Nienow, P, Hanna, E, Palmer, S and Huybrechts, P (2011) Melt-induced speed-up of Greenland ice sheet offset by efficient subglacial drainage. Nature, 469(7331), 521524 (doi: 10.1038/nature09740)
Van As, D, Hubbard, AL, Hasholt, B, Mikkelsen, AB, Van den Broeke, MR and Fausto, RS (2012) Large surface meltwater discharge from the Kangerlussuaq sector of the Greenland ice sheet during the record-warm year 2010 explained by detailed energy balance observations. Cryosphere, 6(1), 199209 (doi: 10.5194/tc-6-199-2012)
Van de Wal, RSW and 6 others (2008) Large and rapid melt-induced velocity changes in the ablation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Science, 321(5885), 111113 (doi: 10.1126/science.1158540)
Werner, C, Wegmüller, U, Strozzi Tand Wiesmann, A (2001) Gamma SAR and interferometric processing software. In Sawaya-Lacoste, H ed. Proceedings of ERS–ENVISAT Symposium, 16–20 October 2000, Gothenburg, Sweden. European Space Agency, Noordwijk
Zwally, HJ, Abdalati, W, Herring, T, Larson, K, Saba, J and Steffen, K (2002) Surface melt-induced acceleration of Greenland ice-sheet flow. Science, 297(5579), 218222 (doi: 10.1126/science.1072708)
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

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed