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Ice front and flow speed variations of marine-terminating outlet glaciers along the coast of Prudhoe Land, northwestern Greenland

  • DAIKI SAKAKIBARA (a1) (a2) and SHIN SUGIYAMA (a1) (a2)

Satellite images were analyzed to measure the frontal positions and ice speeds of 19 marine-terminating outlet glaciers along the coast of Prudhoe Land, northwestern Greenland from 1987 to 2014. All the studied glaciers retreated over the study period at a rate of between 12 and 200 m a−1, with a median (mean) retreat rate of 30 (40) m a−1. The glacier retreat began in the year ~2000, which coincided with an increase in summer mean air temperature from 1.4 to 5.5 °C between 1996 and 2000 in this region. Ice speed near the front of the studied glaciers ranged between 20 and 1740 m a−1 in 2014, and many of them accelerated in the early 2000s. In general, the faster retreat was observed at the glaciers that experienced greater acceleration, as represented by Tracy Glacier, which experienced a retreat of 200 m a−1 and a velocity increase of 930 m a−1 during the study period. A possible interpretation of this observation is that flow acceleration induced dynamic thinning near the termini, resulting in enhanced calving and rapid retreat of the studied glaciers. We hypothesize that atmospheric warming conditions in the late 1990s triggered glacier retreat in northwestern Greenland since 2000.

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      Ice front and flow speed variations of marine-terminating outlet glaciers along the coast of Prudhoe Land, northwestern Greenland
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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Correspondence: Daiki Sakakibara <>
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