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Sample records for helheim glacier greenland

  1. Interpreting Terminus Fluctuations at Helheim Glacier, Southeast Greenland, through Modeling and Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kehrl, L. M.; Joughin, I. R.; Shapero, D.

    2014-12-01

    Marine-terminating outlet glaciers are highly sensitive to changes at the ice-ocean boundary. Changes at the ice-ocean boundary (calving events, submarine melting) can alter the terminus position and thereby the stress balance. If the terminus retreats into deeper water, more of the driving stress must then be balanced by longitudinal stress gradients, which cause the glacier to speed up. This study combines satellite observations and modeling (Elmer/Ice) to investigate the relationship between glacier dynamics and terminus position at Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland, from 2000-2014. Helheim Glacier retreated about 7 km from 2001-2005 as warm ocean water entered the nearby fjord. From 2005-2006, the glacier re-advanced by 3 km as a floating or near-floating ice tongue formed over the basal overdeepening in front of the glacier terminus. Since then, Helheim's terminus position has remained relatively stable, with terminus fluctuations of < 2 km. Our model experiments consider both large terminus fluctuations (> 2 km) associated with rapid retreat and small terminus fluctuations (< 500 m) associated with individual calving events. We run the model simulations with both a flowline and three-dimensional model to better constrain our uncertainties. Our results show that Helheim Glacier responds rapidly to changes in terminus position of more than a few hundred meters. Small terminus fluctuations can cause velocity variations that extend up to 30 km inland, which roughly corresponds with the spatial extent of the weak bed (20-40 kPa) underneath Helheim Glacier.

  2. Glacier dynamics at Helheim and Kangerdlugssuaq glaciers, southeast Greenland, since the Little Ice Age

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khan, S. A.; Kjeldsen, K. K.; Kjær, K. H.; Bevan, S.; Luckman, A.; Aschwanden, A.; Bjørk, A. A.; Korsgaard, N. J.; Box, J. E.; van den Broeke, M.; van Dam, T. M.; Fitzner, A.

    2014-08-01

    Observations over the past decade show significant ice loss associated with the speed-up of glaciers in southeast Greenland from 2003, followed by a deceleration from 2006. These short-term, episodic, dynamic perturbations have a major impact on the mass balance on the decadal scale. To improve the projection of future sea level rise, a long-term data record that reveals the mass balance beyond such episodic events is required. Here, we extend the observational record of marginal thinning of Helheim and Kangerdlugssuaq glaciers from 10 to more than 80 years. We show that, although the frontal portion of Helheim Glacier thinned by more than 100 m between 2003 and 2006, it thickened by more than 50 m during the previous two decades. In contrast, Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier underwent minor thinning of 40-50 m from 1981 to 1998 and major thinning of more than 100 m after 2003. Extending the record back to the end of the Little Ice Age (prior to 1930) shows no thinning of Helheim Glacier from its maximum extent during the Little Ice Age to 1981, while Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier underwent substantial thinning of 230 to 265 m. Comparison of sub-surface water temperature anomalies and variations in air temperature to records of thickness and velocity change suggest that both glaciers are highly sensitive to short-term atmospheric and ocean forcing, and respond very quickly to small fluctuations. On century timescales, however, multiple external parameters (e.g. outlet glacier shape) may dominate the mass change. These findings suggest that special care must be taken in the projection of future dynamic ice loss.

  3. Step-wise changes in glacier flow speed coincide with calving and glacial earthquakes at Helheim Glacier, Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nettles, M.; Larsen, T. B.; Elósegui, P.; Hamilton, G. S.; Stearns, L. A.; Ahlstrøm, A. P.; Davis, J. L.; Andersen, M. L.; de Juan, J.; Khan, S. A.; Stenseng, L.; Ekström, G.; Forsberg, R.

    2008-12-01

    Geodetic observations show several large, sudden increases in flow speed at Helheim Glacier, one of Greenland's largest outlet glaciers, during summer, 2007. These step-like accelerations, detected along the length of the glacier, coincide with teleseismically detected glacial earthquakes and major iceberg calving events. No coseismic offset in the position of the glacier surface is observed; instead, modest tsunamis associated with the glacial earthquakes implicate glacier calving in the seismogenic process. Our results link changes in glacier velocity directly to calving-front behavior at Greenland's largest outlet glaciers, on timescales as short as minutes to hours, and clarify the mechanism by which glacial earthquakes occur.

  4. Rapid response of Helheim Glacier, Greenland, to climate variability over the last century

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andresen, C. S.; Straneo, F.; Ribergaard, M. H.; Bjoerk, A. A.; Andersen, T. J.; Kuijpers, A.; Nørgaard-Pedersen, N.; Kjaer, K. H.; Schjøth, F.; Weckström, K.; Ahlstrøm, A. P.

    2012-04-01

    Ice mass loss from Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets contribute approximately half of the current global sea level rise and in recent years the Greenland Ice sheet is observed to increase its mass loss rapidly. The quasi-simultaneous acceleration, thinning and retreat of the largest outlet glaciers (Jakobshavn, Helheim and Kangerdluqssuag) in the early 2000s suggested a common climate forcing and increasing air and ocean temperatures were indicated as potential triggers. We present a new record of calving activity of Helheim Glacier, East Greenland, extending back to c. 1890 AD. This record was obtained by analysing sedimentary deposits from Sermilik Fjord, where Helheim Glacier terminates, and uses the annual deposition of sand grains as a proxy for iceberg discharge. The 120 year long record reveals large fluctuations in calving rates, but that the present high rate was reproduced only in the 1930s. A comparison with climate indices indicates that high calving activity coincides with increased Atlantic Water and decreased Polar Water influence on the shelf, warm summers and a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. Our analysis provides evidence that Helheim Glacier responds to short-term (3-10 years) large-scale oceanic and atmospheric fluctuations.

  5. Iceberg Calving and Flow Dynamics at Helheim Glacier, East Greenland, from Time-Lapse Photography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamilton, G. S.; Khan, S. A.; Schild, K. M.; Stearns, L. A.; Nettles, M.; Ahlstrøm, A. P.; Andersen, M. L.; Davis, J. L.; Ekström, G.; Elósegui, P.; Forsberg, R.; de Juan, J.; Larsen, T. B.; Stenseng, L.

    2008-12-01

    Helheim Glacier in East Greenland is the focus of coordinated studies aimed at understanding tidewater outlet-glacier dynamics and kinematics, and their link to glacial earthquakes. As part of this effort, we installed three time-lapse cameras overlooking the calving terminus of the glacier during the Arctic summer of 2008. Images were captured every five minutes during the mostly unattended period of operation. Several interesting aspects of the glacier's behavior are observed in the image sequences, including vertical displacement of the glacier terminus by ocean tides, and very large calving events. These observations, in combination with simultaneous measurements of ice flow, ocean tides (including tsunamis) and seismic activity, contribute to our understanding of the dynamics of Helheim Glacier and the source mechanism of glacial earthquakes.

  6. Rapid response of Helheim Glacier in Greenland to climate variability over the past century

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andresen, Camilla S.; Straneo, Fiammetta; Ribergaard, Mads Hvid; Bjørk, Anders A.; Andersen, Thorbjørn J.; Kuijpers, Antoon; Nørgaard-Pedersen, Niels; Kjær, Kurt H.; Schjøth, Frands; Weckström, Kaarina; Ahlstrøm, Andreas P.

    2012-01-01

    During the early 2000s the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced the largest ice-mass loss of the instrumental record, largely as a result of the acceleration, thinning and retreat of large outlet glaciers in West and southeast Greenland. The quasi-simultaneous change in the glaciers suggests a common climate forcing. Increasing air and ocean temperatures have been indicated as potential triggers. Here, we present a record of calving activity of Helheim Glacier, East Greenland, that extends back to about AD1890, based on an analysis of sedimentary deposits from Sermilik Fjord, where Helheim Glacier terminates. Specifically, we use the annual deposition of sand grains as a proxy for iceberg discharge. Our record reveals large fluctuations in calving rates, but the present high rate was reproduced only in the 1930s. A comparison with climate indices indicates that high calving activity coincides with a relatively strong influence of Atlantic water and a lower influence of polar water on the shelf off Greenland, as well as with warm summers and the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. Our analysis provides evidence that Helheim Glacier responds to short-term fluctuations of large-scale oceanic and atmospheric conditions, on timescales of 3-10 years.

  7. Dynamics of glacier calving at the ungrounded margin of Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland

    PubMed Central

    Selmes, Nick; James, Timothy D.; Edwards, Stuart; Martin, Ian; O'Farrell, Timothy; Aspey, Robin; Rutt, Ian; Nettles, Meredith; Baugé, Tim

    2015-01-01

    Abstract During summer 2013 we installed a network of 19 GPS nodes at the ungrounded margin of Helheim Glacier in southeast Greenland together with three cameras to study iceberg calving mechanisms. The network collected data at rates up to every 7 s and was designed to be robust to loss of nodes as the glacier calved. Data collection covered 55 days, and many nodes survived in locations right at the glacier front to the time of iceberg calving. The observations included a number of significant calving events, and as a consequence the glacier retreated ~1.5 km. The data provide real‐time, high‐frequency observations in unprecedented proximity to the calving front. The glacier calved by a process of buoyancy‐force‐induced crevassing in which the ice downglacier of flexion zones rotates upward because it is out of buoyant equilibrium. Calving then occurs back to the flexion zone. This calving process provides a compelling and complete explanation for the data. Tracking of oblique camera images allows identification and characterisation of the flexion zones and their propagation downglacier. Interpretation of the GPS data and camera data in combination allows us to place constraints on the height of the basal cavity that forms beneath the rotating ice downglacier of the flexion zone before calving. The flexion zones are probably formed by the exploitation of basal crevasses, and theoretical considerations suggest that their propagation is strongly enhanced when the glacier base is deeper than buoyant equilibrium. Thus, this calving mechanism is likely to dominate whenever such geometry occurs and is of increasing importance in Greenland. PMID:27570721

  8. Dynamics of glacier calving at the ungrounded margin of Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murray, Tavi; Selmes, Nick; James, Timothy D.; Edwards, Stuart; Martin, Ian; O'Farrell, Timothy; Aspey, Robin; Rutt, Ian; Nettles, Meredith; Baugé, Tim

    2015-06-01

    During summer 2013 we installed a network of 19 GPS nodes at the ungrounded margin of Helheim Glacier in southeast Greenland together with three cameras to study iceberg calving mechanisms. The network collected data at rates up to every 7 s and was designed to be robust to loss of nodes as the glacier calved. Data collection covered 55 days, and many nodes survived in locations right at the glacier front to the time of iceberg calving. The observations included a number of significant calving events, and as a consequence the glacier retreated ~1.5 km. The data provide real-time, high-frequency observations in unprecedented proximity to the calving front. The glacier calved by a process of buoyancy-force-induced crevassing in which the ice downglacier of flexion zones rotates upward because it is out of buoyant equilibrium. Calving then occurs back to the flexion zone. This calving process provides a compelling and complete explanation for the data. Tracking of oblique camera images allows identification and characterisation of the flexion zones and their propagation downglacier. Interpretation of the GPS data and camera data in combination allows us to place constraints on the height of the basal cavity that forms beneath the rotating ice downglacier of the flexion zone before calving. The flexion zones are probably formed by the exploitation of basal crevasses, and theoretical considerations suggest that their propagation is strongly enhanced when the glacier base is deeper than buoyant equilibrium. Thus, this calving mechanism is likely to dominate whenever such geometry occurs and is of increasing importance in Greenland.

  9. Spatial and temporal melt variability at Helheim Glacier, East Greenland, and its effect on ice dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andersen, M. L.; Larsen, T. B.; Nettles, M.; Elosegui, P.; van As, D.; Hamilton, G. S.; Stearns, L. A.; Davis, J. L.; Ahlstrøm, A. P.; de Juan, J.; Ekström, G.; Stenseng, L.; Khan, S. A.; Forsberg, R.; Dahl-Jensen, D.

    2010-02-01

    Understanding the behavior of large outlet glaciers draining the Greenland Ice Sheet is critical for assessing the impact of climate change on sea level rise. The flow of marine-terminating outlet glaciers is partly governed by calving-related processes taking place at the terminus but is also influenced by the drainage of surface runoff to the bed through moulins, cracks, and other pathways. To investigate the extent of the latter effect, we develop a distributed surface-energy-balance model for Helheim Glacier, East Greenland, to calculate surface melt and thereby estimate runoff. The model is driven by data from an automatic weather station operated on the glacier during the summers of 2007 and 2008, and calibrated with independent measurements of ablation. Modeled melt varies over the deployment period by as much as 68% relative to the mean, with melt rates approximately 77% higher on the lower reaches of the glacier trunk than on the upper glacier. We compare melt variations during the summer season to estimates of surface velocity derived from global positioning system surveys. Near the front of the glacier, there is a significant correlation (on >95% levels) between variations in runoff (estimated from surface melt) and variations in velocity, with a 1 day delay in velocity relative to melt. Although the velocity changes are small compared to accelerations previously observed following some calving events, our findings suggest that the flow speed of Helheim Glacier is sensitive to changes in runoff. The response is most significant in the heavily crevassed, fast-moving region near the calving front. The delay in the peak of the cross-correlation function implies a transit time of 12-36 h for surface runoff to reach the bed.

  10. Tracking the Propagation and Effects of Crevasses in the Helheim Glacier in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hedgepeth, J. E.; Schmidt, B. E.; Walker, C. C.

    2015-12-01

    That calving events in Greenland's glaciers generally occur in the form of many small pieces collapsing from the ice front, rather than the large, tabular style often observed in Antarctic ice shelves is related to the high level of crevassing observed in these glaciers. However, the actual transition mechanism from intact, crevassed glacier—possessing a large amount of gravitational potential and fracture energy—to what is essentially a rubble pile in the proglacial fjords below remains something of a mystery. What is the relationship between the crevasse patterns, glacier flow, and calving rate? We present results from a study to better understand these questions. We focused on Helheim Glacier. Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) and LandSat images downloaded from the USGS Earth Explorer were employed, for years 2001, 2003-2010, and 2012-2015. These images were used to electronically trace crevasse patterns in the ice. Additionally, we track the terminus position over each year, which reached its maximum retreat in 2005. Since then, the position has fluctuated forward and backward barely reaching halfway between the 2001 and 2005 terminus positions. We measure sizes and density of icebergs in the immediate area of the terminus. Iceberg concentration was studied using yearly snapshots and weekly snapshots for 2012 through 2013. We find large crevassed icebergs in 2006, suggestive of a recent calving event. Greenland Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) air temperature data is used to study the environmental variations between each snapshot. Over our observation time period (2001-2014), we compare our traced crevasse patterns to assess variability over time, finding that the density of crevasses increases nearer to the front.. We will report relationships between this spatial-temporal variability to changing atmospheric and flow conditions to better understand factors that control surface modification of Greenland's glaciers. We

  11. Continuous Monitoring of Greenland Outlet Glaciers Using an Autonomous Terrestrial LiDAR Scanning System: Design, Development and Testing at Helheim Glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    LeWinter, A. L.; Finnegan, D. C.; Hamilton, G. S.; Stearns, L. A.; Gadomski, P. J.

    2014-12-01

    Greenland's fast-flowing tidewater outlet glaciers play a critical role in modulating the ice sheet's contribution to sea level rise. Increasing evidence points to the importance of ocean forcing at the marine margins as a control on outlet glacier behavior, but a process-based understanding of glacier-ocean interactions remains elusive in part because our current capabilities for observing and quantifying system behavior at the appropriate spatial and temporal scales are limited. A recent international workshop on Greenland's marine terminating glaciers (US CLIVAR, Beverly, MA, June 2013) recommended the establishment of a comprehensive monitoring network covering Greenland's largest outlet glacier-fjord systems to collect long-term time series of critical in situ glaciological, oceanographic and atmospheric parameters needed to understand evolving relationships between different climate forcings and glacier flow. Given the remote locations and harsh environments of Greenland's glacial fjords, the development of robust autonomous instrumentation is a key step in making the observing networks a reality. This presentation discusses the design and development of a fully-autonomous ground-based Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system for monitoring outlet glacier behavior. Initial deployment of the system is planned for spring 2015 at Helheim Glacier in southeast Greenland. The instrument will acquire multi-dimensional point-cloud measurements of the mélange, terminus, and lower-reaches of the glacier. The heart of the system is a long-range, 1064 nm wavelength Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS) that we have previously used in campaign-style surveys at Helheim Glacier and at Hubbard Glacier in Alaska. We draw on this experience to design and fabricate the power and enclosure components of the new system, and use previously acquired data from the instrument, collected August 2013 and July 2014 at Helheim, to optimize our data collection strategy and design the data

  12. Tidewater Glacier Velocities from Repeat Ground-Based Terrestrial LiDAR Scanning; Helheim Glacier, Southeast Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finnegan, D. C.; Hamilton, G. S.; Stearns, L. A.; LeWinter, A. L.; Farid, H.; Renedo, H.

    2014-12-01

    Tidewater glaciers exhibit dynamic behaviors across a range of spatial and temporal scales, posing a challenge to both in situ and remote sensing observations. In situ measurements capture variability over very short time intervals, but with limited spatial coverage, and at significant cost and risk to deploy. Conversely, airborne and satellite remote sensing is capable of measuring changes over large spatial extents but at limited temporal resolution. Here we use a near-situ approach to observing dynamic glacier behavior. Terrestrial LiDAR Scanning (TLS) combines the rapid acquisition capabilities of in situ measurements with the broad spatial coverage of traditional remote sensing, and can be carried out from a safe off-ice location. Repeat (30 min) high-resolution, long-range (6-10km) TLS surveys were conducted at Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland, during July 9-14, 2014, and coincident in situ global positioning system (GPS) observations were acquired close to the glacier terminus. Analysis of these data allows for independent estimates of flow displacement and verification of 3D analytic techniques for quantifying vector motion. These techniques will enable the automated processing of large volumes of repeat scanning data to be collected during planned the deployment of an autonomous version of our LiDAR scanning system.

  13. New cosmogenic exposure dates from Sermilik Fjord, southeast Greenland document rapid early Holocene retreat of Helheim Glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, A. L.; Rainsley, E.; Murray, T.; Fogwill, C. J.

    2010-12-01

    Marine-terminating glaciers are currently the dominant route for mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). Over the last decade Helheim Glacier, in concert with the majority of marine-terminating glaciers of the southeast sector of the GrIS, has exhibited dramatic changes in speed, thinning and retreat rates. The Holocene retreat history of the outlet glaciers of southeast Greenland is, however, largely unconstrained. Without detailed records of retreat over longer-time scales recent changes cannot be placed in context, nor is there sufficient evidence to constrain ice sheet models for improved estimates of future sea level rise. We present the first direct chronological constraint on the retreat of ice from Sermilik Fjord in southeast Greenland, the former drainage route of Helheim Glacier. Samples spanning the full length of the 80 km fjord were collected from erratics and streamlined bedrock in July 2009-10 and analysed for terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (10Be) dating. Overlapping exposure ages indicate rapid evacuation of ice from much of the fjord at around 10.5 ka BP. Such substantial early Holocene retreat coincides with establishment of the local marine limit at c. 11 ka BP (Long et al. 2008). The new dates extend and confirm results from a tributary valley close to the fjord mouth that placed retreat from the present day coastline at c. 11.5 ka (Roberts et al. 2008). References: Roberts, D.H., Long, A.J., Schnabel, C., Freeman, S. and Simpson, M.J.R. 2008. The deglacial history of southeast sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews, 27, 1505-1516. Long, A.J., Roberts, R.H., Simpson, M.J.R., Dawson, S., Milne, G.A. and Huybrechts, P. 2008. Late Weichselian relative sea-level changes and ice sheet history in southeast Greenland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 272, 8-18.

  14. What can we learn from inverse methods regarding the processes behind the acceleration and retreat of Helheim glacier (Greenland)?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gagliardini, O.; Gillet-chaulet, F.; Martin, N.; Monnier, J.; Singh, J.

    2011-12-01

    Greenland outlet glaciers control the ice discharge toward the sea and the resulting contribution to sea level rise. Physical processes at the root of the observed acceleration and retreat, - decrease of the back force at the calving terminus, increase of basal lubrication and decrease of the lateral friction -, are still not well understood. All these three processes certainly play a role but their relative contributions have not yet been quantified. Helheim glacier, located on the east coast of Greenland, has undergone an enhanced retreat since 2003, and this retreat was concurrent with accelerated ice flow. In this study, the flowline dataset including surface elevation, surface velocity and front position of Helheim from 2001 to 2006 is used to quantify the sensitivity of each of these processes. For that, we used the full-Stokes finite element ice flow model DassFlow/Ice, including adjoint code and full 4d-var data assimilation process in which the control variables are the basal and lateral friction parameters as well as the calving front pressure. For each available date, the sensitivity of each processes is first studied and an optimal distribution is then inferred from the surface measurements. Using this optimal distribution of these parameters, a transient simulation is performed over the whole dataset period. The relative contributions of the basal friction, lateral friction and front back force are then discussed under the light of these new results.

  15. Long-term Autonomous Tidewater Glacier Monitoring Using a Long-Range Terrestrial LiDAR Scanner; Helheim Glacier, Southeast Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finnegan, D. C.; LeWinter, A.; Hamilton, G. S.; Gadomski, P. J.; Stearns, L. A.

    2015-12-01

    Tidewater glaciers exhibit dynamic behaviors across a range of spatial and temporal scales, posing a challenge to both in situ and remote sensing observational strategies. In situ measurements can capture variability over very short time intervals, but with limited spatial coverage and at significant cost and risk to deploy. Conversely, airborne and satellite remote sensing is capable of measuring changes over large spatial extents but at limited temporal sampling. In recent work, we have shown that long-range Terrestrial LiDAR Scanning (TLS) from fixed near-situ locations is capable of combining the rapid acquisition capabilities of in situ measurements with the broad spatial coverage of traditional remote sensing. LiDAR scanners have typically operated for short-duration campaigns (days to weeks) due to the technical complexity of the instrumentation, which has limited their contribution to tidewater glacier studies to "snapshot" observational datasets. This paper describes the development and deployment an autonomous full-waveform, long range (6-10 km) TLS system for extended operation (> 1 year) in a remote Arctic environment. The instrument uses a 1064μm wavelength laser which has been optimized for snow and ice, and allows us to acquire multi-dimensional point-cloud measurements of the lower reaches of the glacier, its terminus and the mélange to distances in excess of 10 km every few hours. The system was deployed at Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland in late July, 2015. Helheim Glacier is a large tidewater outlet glacier of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the focus of a coordinated interdisciplinary program to study of its dynamics and interaction with the ocean. Results from our year-round scanning instrument will provide new insights into short and long-term ice motion and terminus behavior at temporal and spatial resolutions previously not possible.

  16. A 100-year record of changes in water renewal rate in Sermilik fjord and its influence on calving of Helheim glacier, southeast Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andresen, Camilla S.; Schmidt, Sabine; Seidenkrantz, Marit-Solveig; Straneo, Fiammetta; Grycel, Aleksandra; Hass, Christian H.; Henrik Kjær, Kurt; Nørgaard-Pedersen, Niels; Dyke, Laurence M.; Olsen, Jesper; Kuijpers, Antoon

    2014-08-01

    Here we present a 100 year long proxy record for the renewal rate of the subsurface ocean waters in Sermilik Fjord at the edge of Helheim Glacier, based on investigations of two sediment cores (ER11-24 and ER11-25) obtained from the head of the fjord. By calculating the mean sortable silt (SSbar) in current-sorted melt water plume sediments we find that episodes of increased water renewal rates lasting 3-5 years coincide with a positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index. This is not surprising as low pressure systems and northeasterly storms are observed more frequently along the east coast of Greenland during positive NAO years as a result of the northward shift in the North Atlantic storm track. Previous studies of sediment cores obtained from the mid-region of the fjord showed that Helheim Glacier destabilization coincides with a negative NAO index. Therefore we conclude that inter-annual variability in storm-induced flushing of Sermilik Fjord and thus the water renewal rate towards the glacier margin is not the controlling factor for inter-annual variability in Helheim Glacier destabilization. Such knowledge may have implications on predictive model studies of ice-ocean interactions and glacier behavior.

  17. Investigating the Greenland firn aquifer near Helheim Glacier based on geophysical noninvasive methods and in situ measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miège, C.; Koenig, L.; Forster, R. R.; Miller, O. L.; Solomon, D. K.; Legchenko, A.; Schmerr, N. C.; Montgomery, L. N.; Brucker, L.

    2015-12-01

    Prior to the onset of seasonal surface melt, widespread perennial aquifers are detected at an average depth of 22 m below the snow surface in the firn of the Greenland ice sheet from airborne radar data. With an elevation range of ~1200-2000 m, the aquifers are mainly located within the percolation zone of the southern and southeastern parts of the ice sheet, in high snow accumulation regions. The impact of the aquifer on Greenland ice sheet hydrology and the direct (or indirect) contribution to sea-level rise remain unconstrained and require further attention. Our study is located on the upper portion of Helheim Glacier in SE Greenland, ~50 km west of the glacier calving front. We first used repeated airborne radar data collected by CReSIS to infer the presence of the firn over the last two decades from missing bed echoes. For 1993-2008, the aquifer remained relatively stable, after 2008 it expanded to higher elevations, and after spring 2012, drainage of its lower-elevation portion is suspected. Based on these initial insights, recent fieldwork was carried out along the surveyed radar line, following an elevation gradient. Geophysical investigation includes seismic refraction and magnetic resonance soundings to complement the radar data and to provide constraints on the base of the aquifer, water volume, and the transition from water-saturated firn to ice. In addition, piezometers and data-logging stations were deployed at point locations to measure hydraulic conductivity, water table vertical fluctuations, and firn temperature. We report on the different techniques used, initial observations made, and present some preliminary interpretations. Water appears to flow laterally in a highly-permeable unconfined aquifer, topographically driven by ice-sheet surface undulations until water encounters local sinks like crevasses. The aquifer impacts on the ice sheet are numerous, including firn densification, alteration of the ice thermal state, and water from the aquifer

  18. Controls on Helheim Glacier calving rates from 2001-2014

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stearns, L. A.; Foga, S. C.; Hamilton, G. S.; Straneo, F.; Sutherland, D.; van der Veen, C. J.; Oltmanns, M.; Schild, K. M.

    2014-12-01

    Iceberg calving is an efficient mechanism for ice mass loss. While the physical controls on calving are not well understood, recent field and remote sensing observations from Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland, suggest calving is dependent on both glacier and fjord conditions. This presentation investigates the sensitivity of calving rates to ice velocity, ocean temperature and mélange composition using a combination of in situ and satellite observations. Ocean properties in Sermilik Fjord for 2009-2014 are reconstructed using mooring data, and an object-based image analysis (OBIA) that inventories icebergs, sea-ice and small icebergs quantifies mélange composition several times a season. Ice velocity from InSAR and optical imagery is used to calculate calving rates and investigate the role of longitudinal gradients on calving. Ice velocity appears to be the dominant control on calving rates at Helheim Glacier. However, calving rates exhibit a complex pattern of seasonal and interannual variability, which does not simply mimic ice velocity patterns. We explore the relative roles of ocean properties, glacier geometry, and mélange composition on calving rates from 2001-2014 in order to improve physically-based glacier models.

  19. Towards a robust calving and melt-history for Helheim Glacier, SE Greenland, for the last 100 years

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andersen, T. J.; Ellegaard, M.; Markussen, T. N.

    2013-12-01

    Observations of increased ice-discharge from tidewater glaciers in Greenland in the early and mid 2000s has led to concern about a possible rapid loss of ice from the ice sheet in a scenario with increasing air and ocean water temperatures. In order to evaluate the strength and uniqueness of the observed increase a robust data-set on the temporal variation of calving and melt is strongly needed. The only reliable data prior to the period of aerial photographs and instrumental observations is the archive preserved at the seabed in the fjords and coastal waters off the ice sheet. Establishment of core-chronology is central in studies of these archives and is based on Pb-210 dating which will reach approx. 100 years back in time. Establishment of a detailed and accurate core-chronology by means of Pb-210 dating and Cs-137 peaks is by no means a trivial task in environments influenced by episodic deposition of ice-rafted debris (IRD). The deposition will have a relatively large component of random variability which could be mistaken for actual changes in sedimentation rate, especially so if only one or a few cores are analyzed. To increase the reliability of the calving reconstruction, a total of 13 cores have been sampled in this study in Sermilik Fjord in August 2012 at depths between approximately 700 to 900 m. Eleven of the cores are from within the central basin north of 66 degrees North and two are from the outer part of the fjord south of that line. CTD-profiles and measurements of floc size in situ indicate that the sedimentation is significantly influenced by deposition of IRD and temporal changes in sediment accumulation rates will therefore be examined for all the cores. The cores are also being analyzed for their content of dinoflagellate cysts and diatoms in order to examine possible temporal changes in ocean water temperature in the fjord. So far (August 2013) six cores have been studied and the total average accumulation rate for each year since 1925 has

  20. Greenland Glacier Albedo Variability

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment (PARCA) is a NASA-funded project with the prime goal of addressing the mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet. Since the formal initiation of the program in 1995, there has been a significant improvement in the estimates of the mass balance of the ice sheet. Results from this program reveal that the high-elevation regions of the ice sheet are approximately in balance, but the margins are thinning. Laser surveys reveal significant thinning along 70 percent of the ice sheet periphery below 2000 m elevations, and in at least one outlet glacier, Kangerdlugssuaq in southeast Greenland, thinning has been as much as 10 m/yr. This study examines the albedo variability in four outlet glaciers to help separate out the relative contributions of surface melting versus ice dynamics to the recent mass balance changes. Analysis of AVHRR Polar Pathfinder albedo shows that at the Petermann and Jakobshavn glaciers, there has been a negative trend in albedo at the glacier terminus from 1981 to 2000, whereas the Stor+strommen and Kangerdlugssuaq glaciers show slightly positive trends in albedo. These findings are consistent with recent observations of melt extent from passive microwave data which show more melt on the western side of Greenland and slightly less on the eastern side. Significance of albedo trends will depend on where and when the albedo changes occur. Since the majority of surface melt occurs in the shallow sloping western margin of the ice sheet where the shortwave radiation dominates the energy balance in summer (e.g. Jakobshavn region) this region will be more sensitive to changes in albedo than in regions where this is not the case. Near the Jakobshavn glacier, even larger changes in albedo have been observed, with decreases as much as 20 percent per decade.

  1. Calving dynamics at Helheim Glacier from a high-resolution observational network.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Selmes, Nick; Aspey, Robin; Baugé, Tim; Bevan, Suzanne; Edwards, Stuart; Everett, Alistair; James, Timothy; Loskot, Pavel; Luckman, Adrian; Martin, Ian; Murray, Tavi; O'Farrell, Tim; Rutt, Ian

    2014-05-01

    Calving glaciers play a crucial role in the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet; acceleration of these glaciers results in increased mass loss from the ice sheet interior and a corresponding rise in sea level. Understanding the controls on calving is crucial for predicting the dynamic response of tidewater glaciers to environmental change, but understanding of calving is hindered by the difficulty of obtaining appropriate field measurements, and by the complexity of the system being observed. We designed and deployed a wireless network of GPS nodes which transmit to off-glacier base stations every few seconds, allowing observations right up to node loss through calving. We ran a network of 20 sensors over the period July - September 2013 on the highly crevassed surface of Helheim Glacier, one of the largest and fastest flowing of the Greenland outlets. Topographic change, additional velocities, and calving flux were provided by two sets of stereo time-lapse cameras, TanDEM-X satellite imagery, repeat airborne lidar, and airborne and spaceborne optical remotely-sensed imagery. At the start of our field season we observed the expression on the fjord surface of a point-source subglacial meltwater plume. We monitored the evolution of the plume and its effect on the exposed calving face and ice mélange from time-lapse cameras, optical remotely-sensed imagery and lidar data. We compare these observations to our record of frontal positions to study the plume's role in controlling the spatial extent of iceberg calving. Our 53 day study period contained several large calving events which resulted in frontal retreat of ~1.5 km. We present the glacier's dynamic and topographic response to these calving events through this very large and rich dataset. Typically the glacier ice flows down slope and speeds up as ice progresses towards the calving front, with notable acceleration after each calving event. Intriguingly we see periods where sensors behave in unexpected ways

  2. Modelling Greenland Outlet Glaciers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    vanderVeen, Cornelis; Abdalati, Waleed (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    The objective of this project was to develop simple yet realistic models of Greenland outlet glaciers to better understand ongoing changes and to identify possible causes for these changes. Several approaches can be taken to evaluate the interaction between climate forcing and ice dynamics, and the consequent ice-sheet response, which may involve changes in flow style. To evaluate the icesheet response to mass-balance forcing, Van der Veen (Journal of Geophysical Research, in press) makes the assumption that this response can be considered a perturbation on the reference state and may be evaluated separately from how this reference state evolves over time. Mass-balance forcing has an immediate effect on the ice sheet. Initially, the rate of thickness change as compared to the reference state equals the perturbation in snowfall or ablation. If the forcing persists, the ice sheet responds dynamically, adjusting the rate at which ice is evacuated from the interior to the margins, to achieve a new equilibrium. For large ice sheets, this dynamic adjustment may last for thousands of years, with the magnitude of change decreasing steadily over time as a new equilibrium is approached. This response can be described using kinematic wave theory. This theory, modified to pertain to Greenland drainage basins, was used to evaluate possible ice-sheet responses to perturbations in surface mass balance. The reference state is defined based on measurements along the central flowline of Petermann Glacier in north-west Greenland, and perturbations on this state considered. The advantage of this approach is that the particulars of the dynamical flow regime need not be explicitly known but are incorporated through the parameterization of the reference ice flux or longitudinal velocity profile. The results of the kinematic wave model indicate that significant rates of thickness change can occur immediately after the prescribed change in surface mass balance but adjustments in flow

  3. Melting beneath Greenland outlet glaciers and ice streams

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alexander, David; Perrette, Mahé; Beckmann, Johanna

    2015-04-01

    Basal melting of fast-flowing Greenland outlet glaciers and ice streams due to frictional heating at the ice-bed interface contributes significantly to total glacier mass balance and subglacial meltwater flux, yet modelling this basal melt process in Greenland has received minimal research attention. A one-dimensional dynamic ice-flow model is calibrated to the present day longitudinal profiles of 10 major Greenland outlet glaciers and ice streams (including the Jakobshavn Isbrae, Petermann Glacier and Helheim Glacier) and is validated against published ice flow and surface elevation measurements. Along each longitudinal profile, basal melt is calculated as a function of ice flow velocity and basal shear stress. The basal shear stress is dependent on the effective pressure (difference between ice overburden pressure and water pressure), basal roughness and a sliding parametrization. Model output indicates that where outlet glaciers and ice streams terminate into the ocean with either a small floating ice tongue or no floating tongue whatsoever, the proportion of basal melt to total melt (surface, basal and submarine melt) is 5-10% (e.g. Jakobshavn Isbrae; Daugaard-Jensen Glacier). This proportion is, however, negligible where larger ice tongues lose mass mostly by submarine melt (~1%; e.g. Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden Glacier). Modelled basal melt is highest immediately upvalley of the grounding line, with contributions typically up to 20-40% of the total melt for slippery beds and up to 30-70% for resistant beds. Additionally, modelled grounding line and calving front migration inland for all outlet glaciers and ice streams of hundreds of metres to several kilometres occurs. Including basal melt due to frictional heating in outlet glacier and ice stream models is important for more accurately modelling mass balance and subglacial meltwater flux, and therefore, more accurately modelling outlet glacier and ice stream dynamics and responses to future climate change.

  4. Analysis of Environmental Forcing and Melange Fluctuation in Asynchronous Retreat of Ocean Terminating Glaciers in Greenland's Sermilik Fjord

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seifert, F.; Galey, C. E.; Bassis, J. N.

    2014-12-01

    Widespread near synchronous retreat of marine terminating outlet glaciers has been observed across wide swaths of the Greenland Ice Sheet. However, despite large-scale patterns of retreat, there is considerable variability in the timing and retreat patterns of individual glaciers with geographically adjacent glaciers that experience similar climate and meteorological forcing displaying markedly different behavior. Here we applied an automated identification algorithm that we developed to track the terminus and melange in order better understand the complex dynamics and varying drivers of glacier retreat. The algorithm was applied to three major glaciers (Helheim Glacier, Fenris Glacier and Midgard Glacier) that terminate in Greenland's Sermilik Fjord over the period of 2000- 2014. The terminus position and the percentage of the fjord filled with melange or sea ice from 2001 to present was determined. Since these glaciers exist within the same fjord system, they should experience comparable environmental forcing conditions, but appear to respond to these conditions differently causing them to have varying patterns of retreat. Helheim Glacier and Fenris Glacier have terminus locations closely spaced in the fjord but Helheim Glacier's terminus retreated over 7 km before advancing to stabilize at a 5 km retreat over the observation period and Fenris Glacier's terminus has stayed in roughly the same place. Midgard Glacier is located across the fjord from Helheim Glacier and its terminus has continuously retreated with a retreat of approximately 8 km. This asynchronous retreat shows that proximity alone cannot determine retreat behavior, and a more complex interaction between internal variability and external forcing must be taking place. To better understand the variability within the system and the cause of asynchronous retreat, ocean and air temperature datasets, in conjunction with the fjord geometry, were compared with our derived melange/sea ice and terminus

  5. The response of the calving front of Helheim Glacier to significant warming of fjord waters, 2009-2010 (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murray, T.; Luckman, A. J.; Scharrer, K.; Cottier, F.; Bevan, S. L.; Dye, S.; Goldsack, A.; Hughes, A. L.; James, T. D.; Selmes, N.; Valdimarsson, H.

    2010-12-01

    The region of greatest mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet is the south-east, where iceberg calving from marine-terminating outlet glaciers dominates mass loss. Helheim Glacier is the third largest catchment of the Greenland Ice Sheet and discharges into Sermilik Fjord on the SE coast, a 90 km long fjord up to 900 m deep. During July 2009 and 2010, we repeated a 60 km profile along Sermilik Fjord measuring water temperature and salinity. The results show warming of up to 4°C of the fjord waters. We report on this interannual variability of fjord waters, adding results from the same profile to be collected in September 2010, and investigate the origin of these warmer waters and their impact on the calving rate and flow dynamics of Helheim Glacier. In July 2009, the fjord waters were strongly stratified, with an upper cold and relatively fresh layer of 150-180 m of water colder than 0°C, below which was warmer (up to 4°C), more saline Subtropical Water (STW) (>34 p.s.u.) originating from the Irminger Current. In July 2010, the upper layer was significantly warmer and saltier, with maximum differences of ~3.2-4°C concentrated at depths between 85-125 m, probably reflecting the influx of new STW. Waters deeper than ~460 m were also warmer by ~1°C. There was some cooling of waters at depths between 180-460 m between the two profiles, but the maximum cooling is 0.3°C, and typically the cooling at this depth is 0-0.2°C. Overall the results suggest a significant increase in the heat available for melting at the glacier front margin. We would therefore expect increased underwater melting, and hence enhanced calving and ice flow rates. During 2009, Helheim Glacier retreated and advanced repeatedly ~1.2 km, ending the year some 0.75 km retreated overall. In 2010, the glacier has retreated 1.3 km to 20 August: in the same period in 2009 it had retreated 0.8-1.0 km. Ice flow rates close to the margin from tracking optical and SAR imagery varied from 18-24 m/d in 2009

  6. Rapid Changes of Large Tidewater Glaciers in SE Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stearns, L. A.; Hamilton, G. S.

    2005-12-01

    New field and satellite remote sensing measurements show that Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier and Helheim Glacier, two fast-flowing tidewater glaciers in South-East Greenland, accelerated 40-300% between 2001 and 2005 and retreated 3-5 km since July 2003. Together, the catchment basins of these two glaciers encompass ~10% of the area of the Greenland ice sheet. Previous studies observed rates of surface lowering on the main trunks of both glaciers that were too large to be caused by enhanced surface melting or decreased snow fall alone. One hypothesis to explain the thinning rates is a change in ice dynamics. We use repeat satellite imagery and published reports to reconstruct the last ~decade of flow histories for both glaciers and compare the results with velocities derived from field GPS surveys in the summer 2005. Helheim Glacier was flowing at ~8 km/yr in 1995 and 2001. In 2005, flow speeds were ~11.7 km/yr, a ~40% increase. The acceleration of Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier was more substantial. Portions of the main trunk that were flowing at ~5 km/yr in 1988, 1996 and 2001 were flowing at ~14 km/yr in summer 2005, an almost threefold increase. The accelerations in flow speeds were accompanied by other changes, including the rapid retreat of calving fronts that had maintained quasi-stable positions for the previous ~40 years, and a lowering of the ice surface by about 100 m, leaving stranded ice on adjacent ridges. The rapid thinning, acceleration and retreat of these two relatively nearby glaciers suggests a common triggering mechanism, such as enhanced surface melting due to regional climate warming. The current flow speeds, ~11 - 14 km/yr at the terminus, are too fast to be caused solely by internal deformation of the ice, implying that an increase in basal sliding forced by additional meltwater production is the probable cause of the velocity increases. The new observations and the hypothesized cause highlight the sensitivity of large outlet glaciers to local climate

  7. Brief communication: Getting Greenland's glaciers right - a new data set of all official Greenlandic glacier names

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bjørk, A. A.; Kruse, L. M.; Michaelsen, P. B.

    2015-12-01

    Place names in Greenland can be difficult to get right, as they are a mix of Greenlandic, Danish, and other foreign languages. In addition, orthographies have changed over time. With this new data set, we give the researcher working with Greenlandic glaciers the proper tool to find the correct name for glaciers and ice caps in Greenland and to locate glaciers described in the historic literature with the old Greenlandic orthography. The data set contains information on the names of 733 glaciers, 285 originating from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) and 448 from local glaciers and ice caps (LGICs).

  8. Calving Signature in Ocean Waves: Helheim Glacier and Sermilik Fjord Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vankova, I.; Holland, D.

    2015-12-01

    In this work, we investigate the characteristics of calving on Helheim glacier from data recorded on an array of five high frequency pressure meters placed along Sermilik fjord. Calving generated tsunami waves were recorded and used to construct a calving event catalog and to characterize the post-calving ocean state. Calving on Helheim is highly seasonal: it onsets after months of inactivity in early spring, immediately following the rise of daily average temperatures above freezing point, which indicates the potentially dominant role of meltwater in the calving mechanism. Tidal phase and amplitude, ocean temperature variations or surges did not seem to be significant calving factors. In the ocean spectra, we observe discrete peaks between 0.4 to 6 mHz associated with calving events. These peak frequencies are consistent among all the events and they travel as propagating modes up and down the fjord for several hours while being slowly radiated away to the open ocean, an observation which we support with a model. Large part of the spectrum is trapped in evanescent modes or is quickly dissipated. These observations are relevant for our understanding of the time scale and rate of mixing in glacier fjords, and eventually for improving boundary conditions for ocean models.

  9. Brief Communication: 2014 velocity and flux for five major Greenland outlet glaciers using ImGRAFT and Landsat-8

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Messerli, A.; Karlsson, N. B.; Grinsted, A.

    2014-12-01

    This study presents average velocity fields, mass flux estimates and central flowline profiles for five major Greenland outlet glaciers; Jakobshavn Isbræ, Nioghalvfjerdsbræ, Kangerdlugssuaq, Helheim and Petermann glaciers, spanning the period (August) 2013-(September) 2014. The results are produced by the feature tracking toolbox, ImGRAFT using Landsat-8, panchromatic data. The resulting velocity fields agree with the findings of existing studies. Furthermore, our results show an unprecedented speed of over 50 m day-1 at Jakobshavn Isbræ as it continues to retreat. All the processed data will be freely available for download at http://imgraft.glaciology.net.

  10. Variations in Southeast Greenland fjord and coastal waters and their impact on glacier dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scharrer, K.; Duijkers, M.; Murray, T.; Booth, A.; Selmes, N.; James, T. D.; Bevan, S. L.; Luckman, A. J.

    2009-12-01

    The southeast quadrant of the Greenland ice sheet has undergone rapid changes in recent years and many marine-terminating outlet glaciers synchronously accelerated, thinned and their calving fronts retreated significantly between 2003 and 2005. Subsequently these glaciers have slowed, again simultaneously, with many outlets in 2008 flowing at speeds close to or even slower than in 2000/1. These dynamic changes seem to be triggered at the calving fronts of the glaciers, with changes in fjord water composition acting as the first order control. However, little is known about ocean-glacier interactions, especially about the processes and changes in the glacier-fjord-coastal ocean system in southeast (SE) Greenland. In order to investigate recent changes in outlet glacier dynamics in SE Greenland in the context of variations in fjord and ocean circulation, we analysed detailed time series of high-resolution satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST) datasets for the period 2000 to 2009. In order to link these surface data to processes deeper in the water column we conducted a field campaign in Sermilik Fjord (Helheim glacier) during summer 2009. Coastal circulation patterns were investigated using the weekly SST product from the MODIS (MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) imagery, which provides coverage at 4 km spatial resolution with an accuracy of +/- 0.25 degrees Celsius. In addition, we used the 60 m resolution thermal band of Landsat-7 imagery to identify seasonal and annual temperature variations of coast and fjord waters at higher resolution. Temporal sequences of Landsat derived SST images were analysed at 6 locations along the SE Greenland coast. We also produced maps of bathymetry, and the temperature-depth and salinity-depth structure of Sermilik Fjord. Our data confirm that the speedup of SE Greenland outlet glaciers coincides with a decline of the cold East Greenland Coastal Current (EGCC), which was accompanied by the incursion of warm and

  11. Earthshots: Satellite images of environmental change – Petermann Glacier, Greenland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adamson, Thomas

    2016-01-01

    This calving is normal, but it’s worth watching Petermann and other Greenland glaciers closely. Petermann is one of the major marine-terminating glaciers of Greenland. Ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet has increased recently. An article in Nature concluded that climate change may cause Petermann and other Greenland glaciers to contribute to sea level rise. Landsat helps glaciologists keep a close eye on this remote but significant glacier.

  12. Reconstruction of past glacier calving and oceanographic variability in Southeast Greenland from marine sedimentary records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andresen, C. S.; Hansen, M. J.; Seidenkrantz, M.; Kuijpers, A.; Noergaard-Pedersen, N.

    2011-12-01

    The Greenland ice sheet is one of the most significant water contributors to the rising global sea level, and therefore there are concerns about its long term stability. However, prediction of its contribution to global sea-level rise is complicated by lack of knowledge about mechanisms behind ice sheet change. In particular ice streams and their interaction with components of the atmospheric and oceanic climate system needs further investigation in order to make realistic models of future sea level rise. Previous studies indicate a link between acceleration of fast-flowing outlet glaciers and temperature rise in near-by (subsurface) ocean waters on short-term timescales (Holland et al. 2008) and longer-term timescales (Andresen et al. 2011) by Jakobshavn Glacier in West Greenland. The SEDIMICE project ('Linking sediments with ice-sheet response and glacier retreat in Southeast Greenland') investigates past outlet glacier fluctuations in Southeast Greenland in the region from Sermilik Fjord by Helheim Glacier to Bernstorffs Fjord further south. The aim is to extend the knowledge from observational time series further back in time by analysing sediment cores retrieved from fjords by outlet glaciers and from the shelf. The sediment cores are dated and the past iceberg rafting is reconstructed on the basis of sediment grain size (IRD, ice rafted debris from icebergs). We also aim at investigating the palaeoceanographic conditions from the content of biomarkers and analysis of benthic foraminifera content can be used to reconstruct subsurface water variability on the shelf. These studies allow us to evaluate the latest 4000-5000 years - and in details the latest c. 100 years - of interaction between oceanographic variability and glacier calving.

  13. Complex Greenland outlet glacier flow captured

    PubMed Central

    Aschwanden, Andy; Fahnestock, Mark A.; Truffer, Martin

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate due to increased surface melt and flow acceleration in outlet glaciers. Quantifying future dynamic contributions to sea level requires accurate portrayal of outlet glaciers in ice sheet simulations, but to date poor knowledge of subglacial topography and limited model resolution have prevented reproduction of complex spatial patterns of outlet flow. Here we combine a high-resolution ice-sheet model coupled to uniformly applied models of subglacial hydrology and basal sliding, and a new subglacial topography data set to simulate the flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Flow patterns of many outlet glaciers are well captured, illustrating fundamental commonalities in outlet glacier flow and highlighting the importance of efforts to map subglacial topography. Success in reproducing present day flow patterns shows the potential for prognostic modelling of ice sheets without the need for spatially varying parameters with uncertain time evolution. PMID:26830316

  14. Complex Greenland outlet glacier flow captured.

    PubMed

    Aschwanden, Andy; Fahnestock, Mark A; Truffer, Martin

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate due to increased surface melt and flow acceleration in outlet glaciers. Quantifying future dynamic contributions to sea level requires accurate portrayal of outlet glaciers in ice sheet simulations, but to date poor knowledge of subglacial topography and limited model resolution have prevented reproduction of complex spatial patterns of outlet flow. Here we combine a high-resolution ice-sheet model coupled to uniformly applied models of subglacial hydrology and basal sliding, and a new subglacial topography data set to simulate the flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Flow patterns of many outlet glaciers are well captured, illustrating fundamental commonalities in outlet glacier flow and highlighting the importance of efforts to map subglacial topography. Success in reproducing present day flow patterns shows the potential for prognostic modelling of ice sheets without the need for spatially varying parameters with uncertain time evolution. PMID:26830316

  15. Reconstructing Fjord Circulation Near a Greenland Tidewater Glacier with Physical Modeling and in Situ Mooring Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schild, K. M.; Hawley, R. L.; Straneo, F.; Cenedese, C.

    2014-12-01

    The rapid speedup of Greenland tidewater glaciers over the last decade, and subsequent mass loss, has been attributed to an increase in air temperature and a synchronous increase in ocean temperatures. The warming subtropical waters previously thought to only exist offshore of Greenland, have been observed throughout most Greenland fjords, and have been suggested to play a large role in submarine melting of the floating glacier terminus and subsequent calving. Warm subtropical water can become entrained by subglacial meltwater as it exits from beneath the glacier. As the buoyant subglacial meltwater moves along the glacier terminus to the surface, the entrained subtropical water contributes to terminus melting and subsequent iceberg melting. However, the impact of a meltwater plume on fjord stratification has been difficult to study due to the limited accessibility of the proglacial environment. We collected a mooring record of salinity and temperature from 2010-2013 at 14 m depth in Sermilik fjord, East Greenland (~25-30 km from the terminus of Helheim Glacier). This record shows a temperature deviation from a sinusoidal seasonal trend between June and October each year; temperatures steadily decrease between June and August and warm again over the subsequent two months. We hypothesize there are three factors driving temperature and salinity changes in the surface waters: (1) subglacial meltwater release, (2) glacier calving, and (3) proglacial circulation. In this study we construct a physical model of the proglacial fjord environment. We modify the quantity, duration and depth of subglacial meltwater release to reconstruct the mooring temperature and salinity records. Results of this study illuminate the influence of subglacial discharge and iceberg melt on proglacial fjord dynamics, an important component in understanding ice sheet- ocean interactions in a warming climate.

  16. On the Influence of the NAO on Outlet Glacier Stability in SE Greenland during the Past 100 Years

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andresen, C. S.

    2014-12-01

    The Greenland Ice sheet has gained massive attention in recent years due to a sudden increase in mass loss at the onset of this century. A significant part of this mass loss has been attributed to increased ice discharge at the margin through iceberg calving from marine-terminating outlet glaciers. However, due to the lack of instrumental data beyond the past 20-30 years it is difficult to evaluate if this was an outstanding event or if it was part of a recurring phenomenon acting on inter-annual, inter-decadal or centennial timescales. In order to improve understanding of the timescales involved in glacier changes and on the influence of ocean and atmosphere variability we investigate sediment archives from fjords with marine terminating glaciers. Near the glacier margin the sedimentation rates are relatively high due to glacial flour input and rafting of iceberg debris. Our studies of several sediment cores obtained from Sermilik Fjord by Helheim Glacier in Southeast Greenland has allowed us to reconstruct glacier calving, shelf temperature and fjord water renewal rate for the past 100 years. These studies show that dominant modes of climate variability, i.e. the North Atlantic Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, affect ocean properties near the glacier and that the recorded variability concurs with reconstructed outlet glacier changes. This presentation provides an overview these studies.

  17. Quantifying the influence of melt on velocity variations at a large Greenland outlet glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andersen, M. L.; Nettles, M.; Elosegui, P.; Larsen, T.; Hamilton, G. S.; Stearns, L. A.

    2010-12-01

    The flow speed of Greenland outlet glaciers is governed by many factors, some of which are poorly understood. One such factor is surface-generated melt water, which has been shown to have a significant effect by enhancing basal lubrication. Previously, we have demonstrated a correlation between variations in glacier flow speed and meltwater input at Helheim Glacier, East Greenland. Here, we analyze local and across-glacier melt water estimates along with daily GPS-derived mean surface velocities from the same area to investigate spatial and temporal variations in glacier response to melt-water input. We perform linear least-squares fits of velocity to melt and thereby invert for a sensitivity value with which to produce predicted velocity records. We also investigate the seasonal variability of melt influence in 2008. We track the residual misfits for a sliding time window using steps of one day while performing the inversion for each step. We detect decreasing values of sensitivity with distance along the flowline from the calving front. Moreover, we observe that misfits drop gradually as the season progresses, accompanied by a steep increase in modeled sensitivity. Toward the end of the season, a very strong correlation between melt and surface displacement occurs and is sustained for ~6 days. We interpret this change as reflecting a gradual change in subglacial hydraulic routing from a tunnel-dominated to a linked-cavity dominated system and back. Investigations of melt-water influence on fast outlet glacier flow may be key in understanding solid mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet, which has been shown to comprise half of the current negative mass budget.

  18. Distinct patterns of seasonal Greenland glacier velocity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moon, Twila; Joughin, Ian; Smith, Ben; Broeke, Michiel R.; Berg, Willem Jan; Noël, Brice; Usher, Mika

    2014-10-01

    Predicting Greenland Ice Sheet mass loss due to ice dynamics requires a complete understanding of spatiotemporal velocity fluctuations and related control mechanisms. We present a 5 year record of seasonal velocity measurements for 55 marine-terminating glaciers distributed around the ice sheet margin, along with ice-front position and runoff data sets for each glacier. Among glaciers with substantial speed variations, we find three distinct seasonal velocity patterns. One pattern indicates relatively high glacier sensitivity to ice-front position. The other two patterns are more prevalent and appear to be meltwater controlled. These patterns reveal differences in which some subglacial systems likely transition seasonally from inefficient, distributed hydrologic networks to efficient, channelized drainage, while others do not. The difference may be determined by meltwater availability, which in some regions may be influenced by perennial firn aquifers. Our results highlight the need to understand subglacial meltwater availability on an ice sheet-wide scale to predict future dynamic changes.

  19. Velocity Estimates of Fast-Moving Outlet Glaciers on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abdalati, Waleed; Krabill, W. B.

    1998-01-01

    In recent years, airborne laser altimetry has been used with great success to investigate the mass balance characteristics of the Greenland ice sheet. One spinoff of this activity has been the application of these measurements to the study of surface velocities in some of Greenland's fast-moving drainage glaciers. This is accomplished by tracking the motion of elevation features, primarily crevasses, in pairs of aircraft laser altimetry surveys. Detailed elevation measurements are made along or across glaciers of interest with a scanning swath of 150 to 200 meters, and the surveys are repeated several days later, typically to within better than 50 meters of the previous flight line. Surface elevation features are identified in each image, and their offsets are compared yielding detailed velocities over narrow regions. During the 1998 field season, repeat flights were made over three glaciers for the purpose of estimating their surface velocities. These were the Kangerdlugssuaq and Helheim glaciers on the east coast and the Jakobshavn Isbrae on the west coast. Each flows at such high speeds (on the order of a few kilometers per year) that their flow rates are difficult to assess by means of radar interferometry. The flexibility of the aircraft platform, however, allows for detailed measurements of the elevation and flow of these drainage areas, which are responsible for a significant portion of the ice discharge from the Greenland ice sheet. Velocity estimates for transects that span these glaciers will be presented, and where the ice thickness values are available (provided by researchers from the University of Kansas) the fluxes will be calculated.

  20. Using ISSM to Simulate the LIA to Present Ice Margin Change at Upernavik Glacier, Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haubner, K.; Larour, E. Y.; Box, J.; Schlegel, N.; Larsen, S. H.; Kjeldsen, K. K.; Kjaer, K. H.

    2015-12-01

    The possibility for rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet ranks among the most serious societal climate threats. This project puts the rate of contemporary climate change-driven Greenland ice mass change in a temporal context, by simulating the Greenland ice sheet margin throughout the Holocene and comparing the results with past ice margin positions (e.g. Andresen et al., 2014; Bjørk et al., 2012) and records of glacier activity based on fjord sediment strata (Andresen et al. 2012). Here we show first steps to achieve this goal and model the evolution of the Upernavik Isstrøm, a set of marine-terminating glaciers in Northwest Greenland, during the 20thcentury, using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) (Larour et. al 2012). The simulation runs from 1900, shortly after the Little Ice Age (LIA), to year 2013, initialized using trimline data marking the former extent of the ice sheet and forced by a surface mass balance reconstruction after Box (2013). We address uncertainties in ice front positions and thickness by comparing our simulation output with present ice margin positions in the area. Finally, we investigate the possibility of simulating historic changes at ice sheet margins with this finite element ice sheet model. Andresen, C. S., Kjeldsen, K. K., Harden, B., Nørgaard-Pedersen, N. and Kjær, K. H. 2014. Outlet glacier dynamics and bathymetry at Upernavik Isstrøm and Upernavik Isfjord, North-West Greenland. GEUS Bulletin 31 Andresen, C. S., Straneo, F., Ribergaard, M. H., Bjørk, A. A., Andersen, T.J., Kuijpers, A., Nørgaard-Pedersen, N., Kjær, K. H., Schjøth, F., Weckström, K. and Ahlstrøm, A. P. 2012: Rapid response of Helheim Glacier in Greenland to climate variability over the past century. Nature Geoscience 5 Bjørk, A. A., Kjær, K. H., Korsgaard, N. J., Khan, A., S., Kjeldsen, K. K., Andresen, C. S., Box, J. E., Larsen, N. K. and Funder, S. 2012. Historical aerial photographs uncover eighty years of ice-climate interaction in southeast

  1. The first glacier inventory for entire Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rastner, P.; Bolch, T.; Mölg, N.; Le Bris, R.; Paul, F.

    2012-04-01

    Detailed glacier data is becoming more and more important in the last decades to solve several research issues. One of the most prominent questions in this regard is the potential contribution of glaciers and icecaps (GIC) to global sea-level rise. Primarily, estimates are uncertain due to the globally still incomplete information about glacier location and size, as well as large uncertainties in future climate scenarios. Recent studies that calculate global sea-level rise from GIC have developed simplified approaches using information from glacier inventories or gridded data sets and a range of different global climate models and emission scenarios. However, for several strongly glacierized regions very rough assumptions about the ice distribution have to be made and an urgent demand for a globally complete glacier inventory is expressed. The GIC on Greenland are one of the regions with lacking information. Within the EU FP7 project ice2sea we mapped the GIC on Greenland using Landsat TM/ETM+ imagery acquired around the year 2000, along with an additional dataset in the North (DCW - Digital Chart of the World). A digital elevation model (DEM) with 90 m resolution (GIMP DEM) was used to derive drainage divides and henceforth topographic parameters for each entity. A major challenge in this regard is the application of a consistent strategy to separate the local GIC from the ice sheet. For this purpose we have defined different levels of connectivity (CL) of the local GIC with the ice sheet: CL0: Not connected. CL1: Connected but separable (either with drainage divides in the accumulation region or in touch only - and thus separable - in the ablation region). CL2: Connected but non-separable (the local GIC contribute to the flow of an ice sheet outlet in the ablation area). Up to now close to 12'000 GIC (only CL0 and CL1) with a total area of about 129'000 km2 have been mapped considering only entities larger than 0.1 km2. The area of the ice sheet itself is

  2. Distinct patterns of seasonal Greenland glacier velocity

    PubMed Central

    Moon, Twila; Joughin, Ian; Smith, Ben; van den Broeke, Michiel R; van de Berg, Willem Jan; Noël, Brice; Usher, Mika

    2014-01-01

    Predicting Greenland Ice Sheet mass loss due to ice dynamics requires a complete understanding of spatiotemporal velocity fluctuations and related control mechanisms. We present a 5 year record of seasonal velocity measurements for 55 marine-terminating glaciers distributed around the ice sheet margin, along with ice-front position and runoff data sets for each glacier. Among glaciers with substantial speed variations, we find three distinct seasonal velocity patterns. One pattern indicates relatively high glacier sensitivity to ice-front position. The other two patterns are more prevalent and appear to be meltwater controlled. These patterns reveal differences in which some subglacial systems likely transition seasonally from inefficient, distributed hydrologic networks to efficient, channelized drainage, while others do not. The difference may be determined by meltwater availability, which in some regions may be influenced by perennial firn aquifers. Our results highlight the need to understand subglacial meltwater availability on an ice sheet-wide scale to predict future dynamic changes. Key Points First multi-region seasonal velocity measurements show regional differences Seasonal velocity fluctuations on most glaciers appear meltwater controlled Seasonal development of efficient subglacial drainage geographically divided PMID:25821275

  3. Investigating the Response of Greenland Outlet Glaciers to Perturbations Using a 1D Flowline Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petrakopoulos, K.; Stearns, L. A.; van der Veen, C. J.

    2015-12-01

    Over the past two decades, the behavior of many Greenland tidewater outlet glaciers has been characterized by dramatic acceleration, thinning, and retreat. In some cases this behavior is followed by re-advance, thickening and deceleration. The mechanisms that control glacier stability are not fully understood, and hinder ice sheet mass balance projections. Many studies suggest that accelerations are caused exclusively by processes at the terminus, namely by mechanisms that result in increases in iceberg calving rates. In this study we investigate whether comparable accelerations can initiate at different places along the glacier trunk due to changes in subglacial processes or shear margin evolution. We begin our experiments using a prognostic depth integrated (1-D) flowline model applied to Helheim Glacier, and investigate its flow response to perturbations at the terminus and up-flow. Our work shows that large-scale accelerations could have initiated up-flow far from the terminus. The results of this study will contribute to the long-lasting debate about the role of terminus dynamics, and thus ocean conditions, in modulating ice sheet mass balance.

  4. Pathways of Petermann Glacier meltwater, Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heuzé, Céline; Wåhlin, Anna; Johnson, Helen; Münchow, Andreas

    2016-04-01

    Radar and satellite observations suggest that the floating ice shelf of Petermann Glacier loses up to 80% of its mass through basal melting, caused by the intrusion of warm Atlantic Water into the fjord and under the ice shelf. The fate of Petermann's glacial meltwater is still largely unknown. It is investigated here, using hydrographic observations collected during a research cruise on board I/B Oden in August 2015. Two methods are used to detect the meltwater from Petermann: a mathematical one that provides the concentration of ice shelf meltwater, and a geometrical one to distinguish the meltwater from Petermann and the meltwater from other ice shelves. The meltwater from Petermann mostly circulates on the north side of the fjord. At the sill, 0.5 mSv of meltwater leave the fjord, mostly on the northeastern side between 100 and 350 m depth, but also in the central channel, albeit with a lesser concentration. Meltwater from Petermann is found in all the casts in Hall Basin, notably north of the sill by Greenland coast. The geometrical method reveals that the casts closest to the Canadian side mostly contain meltwater from other, unidentified glaciers. As Atlantic Water warms up, it is key to monitor Greenland melting glaciers and track their meltwater to properly assess their impact on the ocean circulation and sea level rise.

  5. Processing time-series point clouds to reveal strain conditions of the Helheim Glacier terminus and its adjacent mélange

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Byers, L. C.; Stearns, L. A.; Finnegan, D. C.; LeWinter, A. L.; Gadomski, P. J.; Hamilton, G. S.

    2014-12-01

    Flow near the termini of tidewater glaciers varies over short time-scales due to mechanisms that are poorly understood. Repeat observations with high temporal and spatial resolution, recorded around the terminus, are required to better understand the processes that control flow variability. Progress in light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology permit such observations of the near-terminus and the pro-glacial ice mélange, though standard workflows for quantifying deformation from point clouds currently do not exist. Here, we test and develop methods for processing displacements from LiDAR data of complexly deforming bodies. We use data collected at 30-minute intervals over three-days in August 2013 at Helheim Glacier, Greenland by a long-range (6-10 km), 1064 nm wavelength Terrestrial LiDAR Scanner (TLS). The total area of coverage was ~25 km2. Distributed shear in glaciers prevents a simple transformation for aligning repeat point clouds, but within small regions (~100 m2) strain is assumed to be minor between scans. Registering a large number of these individual regions, subset from the full point-cloud, results in reduced alignment errors. By subsetting in a regular grid, rasters of velocities between scans are created. However, using data-dependent properties such as point density causes the generation of unevenly spaced velocity estimations, which can locally improve resolution or decrease registration errors. The choice of subsets therefore controls the output product's resolution and accuracy. We test how the spatial segmentation scheme affects the displacement results and alignment errors, finding that displacements can be quantified with limited assumption of the true value of displacement for the subset, barring great morphological changes. By identifying areas that do not deform over the temporal domain of the dataset, and using these as the subsets to align, it should be possible to deduce which structures are accommodating strain. This allows for

  6. 21st-century evolution of Greenland outlet glacier velocities.

    PubMed

    Moon, T; Joughin, I; Smith, B; Howat, I

    2012-05-01

    Earlier observations on several of Greenland's outlet glaciers, starting near the turn of the 21st century, indicated rapid (annual-scale) and large (>100%) increases in glacier velocity. Combining data from several satellites, we produce a decade-long (2000 to 2010) record documenting the ongoing velocity evolution of nearly all (200+) of Greenland's major outlet glaciers, revealing complex spatial and temporal patterns. Changes on fast-flow marine-terminating glaciers contrast with steady velocities on ice-shelf-terminating glaciers and slow speeds on land-terminating glaciers. Regionally, glaciers in the northwest accelerated steadily, with more variability in the southeast and relatively steady flow elsewhere. Intraregional variability shows a complex response to regional and local forcing. Observed acceleration indicates that sea level rise from Greenland may fall well below proposed upper bounds. PMID:22556249

  7. Instrument for Analysis of Greenland's Glacier Mills

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Behar, Alberto E.; Matthews, Jaret B.; Tran, Hung B.; Steffen, Konrad; McGrath, Dan; Phillips, Thomas; Elliot, Andrew; OHern, Sean; Lutz, Colin; Martin, Sujita; Wang, Henry

    2010-01-01

    A new instrument is used to study the inner workings of Greenland s glacier mills by riding the currents inside a glacier s moulin. The West Greenland Moulin Explorer instrument was deployed into a tubular shaft to autonomously record temperature, pressure, 3D acceleration, and location. It is built with a slightly positive buoyancy in order to assist in recovery. The unit is made up of several components. A 3-axis MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) accelerometer with 0.001-g resolution forms the base of the unit. A pressure transducer is added that is capable of withstanding 500 psi (=3.4 MPa), and surviving down to -40 C. An Iridium modem sends out data every 10 minutes. The location is traced by a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit. This GPS unit is also used for recovery after the mission. Power is provided by a high-capacity lithium thionyl chloride D-sized battery. The accelerometer is housed inside a cylindrical, foot-long (=30 cm) polyvinyl chloride (PVC) shell sealed at each end with acrylic. The pressure transducer is attached to one of these lids and a MEMS accelerometer to the other, recording 100 samples per second per axis.

  8. Investigating connections between local-remote atmospheric variability and Greenland outlet glacier behavior

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sobolowski, Stefan; Chen, Linling; Miles, Victoria

    2016-04-01

    The outlet glaciers along the margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) exhibit a range of behaviors, which are crucial for understanding GrIS mass changes from a dynamical point of view. However, the drivers of this behavior are still poorly understood. Arguments (counter-arguments) have been made for a strong (weak) local oceanic influence on marine terminating outlet glaciers while decadal-scale drivers linked to fluctuations in the Ice sheet itself and the North Atlantic ocean (e.g. Atlantic Multidecadal Variability) have also been posited as drivers. Recently there have also been studies linking (e.g. seasonal to interannual) atmospheric variability, synoptic activity and the Ice Sheet variability. But these studies typically investigate atmospheric links to the large-scale behavior of the Ice Sheet itself and do not go down to the scale of the outlet glaciers. Conversely, investigations of the outlet glaciers often do not include potential links to non-local atmospheric dynamics. Here the authors attempt to bridge the gap and investigate the relationship between atmospheric variability across a range of scales and the behavior of three outlet glaciers on Greenland's southeast coast over a 33-year period (1980-2012). The glaciers - Helheim, Midgard and Fenris - are near Tasiilaq, are marine terminating and exhibit varying degree of connection to the GrIS. ERA-Interim reanalysis, sea-ice data and glacier observations are used for the investigation. Long records of mass balance are unavailable for these glaciers and front position is employed as a measure of glacier atmosphere interactions across multiple scales, as it exhibits robust relationships to atmospheric variability on time scales of seasons to many years, with the strongest relationships seen at seasonal - interannual time scales. The authors do not make the argument that front position is a suitable proxy for mass balance, only that it is indicative of the role of local and remote atmospheric

  9. From Outlet Glacier Changes to Ice Sheet Mass Balance - Evolution of Greenland Ice Sheet from Laser Altimetry Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Csatho, B. M.; Schenk, A.; Nagarajan, S.; Babonis, G. S.

    2010-12-01

    along the NW coast, and thinning expanding to higher elevations in SW and N Greenland. Several outlet glaciers, for example Humboldt and Petermann glaciers in NW Greenland and Kangilerngata Sermia in W Greenland exhibit a complex spatial and temporal pattern of thickening-thinning with regions of thickening observed at lower elevations. We will examine the thickening and thinning history and the record of surface velocity of these glaciers to investigate the processes responsible for initiating and sustaining these changes. Moreover, by analyzing the detailed surface elevation change history along flowlines or across drainage basins, the propagation of thinning following perturbations at the glacier terminus can be investigated. Results, depicting the evolution of surface elevation changes of three major outlet glaciers, Jakobshavn, Helheim and Kangerlussuaq glaciers, will be shown.

  10. Contrasting response of South Greenland glaciers to recent climatic change

    SciTech Connect

    Warren, C.R.; Glasser, N.F. )

    1992-05-01

    A unique geographical configuration of glaciers exists in the Narsarsuaq district of South Greenland. Two large outlet glaciers divide into seven distributaries, such that each glacier system has land-terminating, tidewater-calving, and fresh-water-calving termini. Despite a similar climatic regime, these seven glaciers have exhibited strongly contrasting terminal behavior in historical time, as shown by historical records, aerial photographs, and fieldwork in 1989. The behavior of the calving glaciers cannot be accounted for with reference solely to climatic parameters. The combination of iceberg calving dynamics and topographic control has partially decoupled them from climatic forcing such that their oscillations relate more closely to glaciodynamic than glacioclimatic factors.

  11. Pathways of warm water to the Northeast Greenland outlet glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schaffer, Janin; Timmermann, Ralph; Kanzow, Torsten; Arndt, Jan Erik; Mayer, Christoph; Schauer, Ursula

    2015-04-01

    The ocean plays an important role in modulating the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet by delivering heat to the marine-terminating outlet glaciers surrounding the Greenland coast. The warming and accumulation of Atlantic Water in the subpolar North Atlantic has been suggested to be a potential driver of the glaciers' retreat over the last decades. The shelf regions thus play a critical role for the transport of Atlantic Water towards the glaciers, but also for the transfer of freshwater towards the deep ocean. A key region for the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet is the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream. This large ice stream drains the second-largest basin of the Greenland Ice Sheet and feeds three outlet glaciers. The largest one is Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden (79°N-Glacier) featuring an 80 km long floating ice tongue. Both the ocean circulation on the continental shelf off Northeast Greenland and the circulation in the cavity below the ice tongue are weakly constrained so far. In order to study the relevant processes of glacier-ocean interaction we combine observations and model work. Here we focus on historic and recent hydrographic observations and on the complex bathymetry in the Northeast Greenland shelf region, which is thought to steer the flux of warm Atlantic water onto the continental shelf and into the sub-ice cavity beneath the 79°N-Glacier. We present a new global topography data set, RTopo-2, which includes the most recent surveys on the Northeast Greenland continental shelf and provides a detailed bathymetry for all around Greenland. In addition, RTopo-2 contains ice and bedrock surface topographies for Greenland and Antarctica. Based on the updated ocean bathymetry and a variety of hydrographic observations we show the water mass distribution on the continental shelf off Northeast Greenland. These maps enable us to discuss possible supply pathways of warm modified Atlantic waters on the continental shelf and thus potential ways of heat

  12. Bathymetric Controls On Observed Tidewater Glacier Retreat In Northwest Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porter, D. F.; Tinto, K. J.; Boghosian, A.; Cochran, J. R.; Bell, R. E.

    2013-12-01

    Although many of the largest glaciers in Greenland are losing mass, the large variability in observed mass wastage of the remaining glaciers clouds interpretation of the proposed external forcings, such as warming of the ocean or atmosphere. Some glaciers are accelerating and thinning while other nearby glaciers advance and gain mass. Recent efforts suggest that increased ocean temperatures may be responsible for the observed glacial retreat in Greenland and Antarctica through increased basal melting beneath floating ice tongues and vertical ice faces of tidewater glaciers. Basal melting may contribute significantly to calving and thinning, and to an eventual speeding up of the glacier, resulting in thinning further inland. Knowledge of fjord geometry is crucial for ice-ocean interaction because the availability of ocean heat to the ice will be restricted by narrow sills and shallow grounding lines. We investigate whether the variability in observed changes among Greenland glaciers can be partially explained by variation in fjord geometry. Some features of a fjord that could influence the ice-ocean system include the depth of the grounding line, the presence of sills, sloping bed, and the water cavity shape beneath floating ice. New estimates of fjord bathymetries in northwest Greenland, using airborne gravimetry measurements from NASA Operation IceBridge flights, are compared to estimates of ice acceleration and mass wastage of neighboring glaciers. We investigate the correlation between fjord geometry features and several glacier parameters, such as surface velocity and elevation changes. We determine that the geometry of glacial fjords play a large role in determining the stability of outlet glaciers. Deep sills and deep terminus grounding lines will allow greater interaction with the deep and warm Atlantic water off the shelf break. For two neighboring glaciers in northwest Greenland, we find that the glacier with a deeper grounding line, and presumably in

  13. Reconstruction of the past 2000 years of ocean and glacier variability in Sermilik Fjord, SE Greenland, based on sediment archives

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stoican, Andreea; Andresen, Camilla; Seidenkrantz, Marit-Solveig; Kjaer, Kurt; Kuijpers, Antoon; Massé, Guillaume; Weckström, Kaarina

    2013-04-01

    Glaciomarine sediments represent valuable archives of climate and glacier variability in the arctic environment. Especially the fjords along Greenland's east coast represent a dynamic and complicated system, influenced by regional ocean circulation, local currents and by glacier terminations. Therefore, they represent appropriate locations for sedimentary core studies in order to detect the relative glacier and ocean variability. The aim of this project is to reconstruct the past 2000 years of glacier and ocean variability in Sermilik fjord, SE Greenland, into which Helheim glacier terminates. This is done by analysing two sedimentary cores (ER11 and ER07) and hereby reconstruct fluctuations in marine-terminating outlet glacier dynamics (including iceberg and to a lesser extent melt water production) and the interaction with oceanographic changes. The oceanographic variability is reconstructed on the basis of benthic and planktonic foraminiferal analysis and the content of the biomarker IP25 and these proxies are interpreted to reflect changes in the inflow of the warm Irminger Current and polar waters in association with the East Greenland Current. Interestingly, studies show that the onset of the Little Ice Age was characterised by intensified inflow of Irminger Current water masses to the Southeastern and Southwestern shelves of Greenland and that these may be associated with a contracted subpolar gyre. At the same time, the EGC Polar Water transport also intensified leading to a stratified water column on the shelf and this may have favoured entrainment of warm subsurface IC waters. Alternatively, the relatively warm rim of the eastern subpolar gyre may have promoted intense submarine melting of extended outlet glaciers at this time, producing enhanced melt water outflow which favoured estuarine circulation processes maintaining the inflow of IC water masses. Thus the aim of this study is to investigate in detail the circulation of these LIA warm waters from

  14. Using ISSM to simulate the LIA to present ice margin change at Upernavik Glacier, Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haubner, Konstanze; Larsen, Signe H.; Box, Jason E.; Andersen, Morten L.; Andresen, Camilla S.; Kjær, Kurt H.; Weidick, Anker

    2015-04-01

    The possibility for rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet ranks among the most serious societal climate threats. To improve predictions it is useful to know more about past ice volume changes. This project puts the rate of contemporary climate change-driven Greenland ice mass change in a temporal context, by simulating the Greenland ice sheet margin throughout the Holocene. The modelled results can be compared with historical ice positions and with records of past glacier activity (i.e. calving) based on studies of sediment cores from the fjord (Andresen et al. 2012). Another data source of ice margins derives from aerial photography and ice trimline positions (Kjær et al. 2012). Here we present a simulation using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) (Larour et. al 2012) of the Upernavik Isstrøm, a set of NW Greenland marine-terminating glaciers. The simulation runs from year 1840 in the Little Ice Age (LIA) to year 2012, forced by an updated surface mass balance reconstruction after Box (2013). The work establishes a base from which we can model the entire Greenland Ice Sheet. To resolve where model development is needed most, using observations that are iteratively excluded from the simulation, we evaluate the relative importance of each data set on the total uncertainty. We discuss the challenges associated with the general model boundary conditions such as the ice-ocean interaction representation in the model and lacking bathymetrical data. Finally, we address the need for further observations and the perspective of applying the model to other glaciers. works cited: • Andresen, C. S., Straneo, F., Ribergaard, M. H., Bjørk, A. A., Andersen, T.J., Kuijpers, A., Nørgaard-Pedersen, N., Kjær, K. H., Schjøth, F., Weckström, K. and Ahlstrøm, A. P. 2012: Rapid response of Helheim Glacier in Greenland to climate variability over the past century. Nature Geoscience 5, 37-41, doi:10.1038/ngeo1349. • Box, J. E. 2013. Greenland ice sheet mass balance

  15. Temperate Ice Under Jakobshavn Isbrae and Other Greenland Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poinar, K. E.; Joughin, I. R.

    2010-12-01

    Jakobshavn Isbrae, western Greenland's largest outlet glacier, drains 6.5% of the ice sheet's area and therefore may be poised to make rapid contributions to global sea level rise. Indeed, in the late 1990s the glacier doubled in speed as its floating ice tongue disintegrated. Driving stresses up to 300 kPa suggest that a considerable amount of ice deformation combines with basal sliding to produce Jakobshavn's fast speed. Boreholes and overturned icebergs have indicated the existence of a soft, temperate layer at the bottom of the ice, where shear deformation would be concentrated. The thickness and water content of the temperate ice layer determine how much of the motion it can provide. While we focus on Jakobshavn, we also apply our analysis to other Greenland outlet glaciers. This project uses an implicit finite-difference model to compute the temperate ice thickness and water content along multiple flowlines feeding Jakobshavn Isbrae and other Greenland glaciers, in an effort to identify the mechanisms for their rapid movement. In contrast to previous modeling studies, which chose ice velocities in order to match partial temperature profiles measured in boreholes, our model is constrained by satellite-observed surface velocities. The model calculates the temperature field and determines the sliding and internal deformation velocities, constrained by the velocity measurements, to make a self-consistent balance. Feedbacks between temperature, water content, and viscosity allow the temperate shear layer to evolve. Our model results for temperate ice thickness under Jakobshavn (150-300 meters) agree with previous estimates (100-700 meters) and recent observations (30 and 200-250 meters). This model is well suited for glaciers with deeply eroded bedrock troughs. Forthcoming observational campaigns such as NASA's IceBridge program will produce detailed basal topography data for other Greenland outlet glaciers. As these data come online, we will model the temperate

  16. Ocean-Glacier Interactions in Alaska and Comparison to Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Motyka, R. J.; Truffer, M.

    2011-12-01

    Meltwater from Alaska's coastal glaciers and icefields accounts for nearly half of the total freshwater discharged into the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), with 10% coming from glacier volume loss associated with rapid thinning and retreat of glaciers (Neal et al, 2010). This glacier freshwater discharge contributes to maintaining the Alaska Coastal Current (ACC), which eventually reaches the Arctic Ocean (Royer and Grosch, 2006), thereby linking changes of glaciers along the coast of Alaska to the whole Arctic system. Water column temperatures on the shelf of northern GOA, monitored at buoy GAK1 near Seward, have increased by about 1 deg C since 1970 throughout the 250 m depth and vertical density stratification has also increased. Roughly half of the glacier contribution to ACC is derived from the ~ 50 tidewater glaciers (TWG) that drain from Alaska's coastal mountains into the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). Fjord systems link these TWGs to the GOA, with fjord circulation patterns driven in part by buoyancy-driven convection of subglacial freshwater discharge at the head of the fjord. Neoglacial shallow sills (< 50 m deep) modulate the influx of warm ocean waters (up to 10 deg C) into these fjords. Convection of these warm waters melts icebergs and submerged faces of TWGs. The study of interactions between glaciers, fjords, and the ocean in coastal Alaska has had a long but very sporadic history. We examine this record starting with the "TWG cycle" hypothesis. We next examine recent hydrographic data from several different TWG fjords, representative of advancing and retreating TWGs (Columbia, Yahtse, Hubbard, and LeConte Glaciers), evaluate similarities and differences, and estimate the relative contributions of submarine glacier melting and subglacial discharge to fjord circulation. Circulation of warm ocean waters in fjords has also been hypothesized to play an important role in destabilizing and modulating glacier discharge from outlet glaciers in Greenland. We therefore compare

  17. Seasonality and extent of East Greenland glacier fluctuations from automatic satellite monitoring of calving glacier fronts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seale, Anthony; Christoffersen, Poul; Mugford, Ruth

    2010-05-01

    The recent acceleration of Greenland outlet glaciers shows that flow speeds can respond sensitively to changes of calving front positions, but little is known about the seasonality and range of margin position changes. To investigate the geographical extent of margin changes on subseasonal timescale, we developed an automated procedure for identifying calving margins from MODIS data (2000-2008), allowing for the analysis of 105,536 images of 32 glaciers in East Greenland. Validation exercises found results to compare well to those of other studies, which have been limited in either temporal resolution or spatial extent by more labor-intensive methods. All most all glacier exhibited seasonal cycles, demonstrating a strong sensitivity to environmental conditions. However, there was a distinct difference in response of glaciers north and south of 65.9°N. Those above showed close to no interannual change, whilst those below retreated rapidly by an average of 2.9 km over 2001 to 2005. We found that only a few glaciers have returned to their original calving position and that only 26% of the average calving retreat was recovered when the glaciers returned to a steady margin position during 2005 to 2008. The extent of rapid change of calving positions is consistent with the recent attribution of sustained mass losses in southeast Greenland to increased discharge. Meteorological records and climate reanalysis data show clear evidence of recent atmospheric warming in southeast Greenland, but this warming trend do not statistically explain the observed extent of margin recessions. A statistically convincing explanation was found in the output from the ¼ degree NEMO ocean model where variable extent of Atlantic water intrusions onto the East Greenland continental shelf coincide with the observed glacier change.

  18. Large fluctuations in speed on Greenland's Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier.

    PubMed

    Joughin, Ian; Abdalati, Waleed; Fahnestock, Mark

    2004-12-01

    It is important to understand recent changes in the velocity of Greenland glaciers because the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet is partly determined by the flow rates of these outlets. Jakobshavn Isbrae is Greenland's largest outlet glacier, draining about 6.5 per cent of the ice-sheet area, and it has been surveyed repeatedly since 1991 (ref. 2). Here we use remote sensing data to measure the velocity of Jakobshavn Isbrae between 1992 and 2003. We detect large variability of the velocity over time, including a slowing down from 6,700 m yr(-1) in 1985 to 5,700 m yr(-1) in 1992, and a subsequent speeding up to 9,400 m yr(-1) by 2000 and 12,600 m yr(-1) in 2003. These changes are consistent with earlier evidence for thickening of the glacier in the early 1990s and rapid thinning thereafter. Our observations indicate that fast-flowing glaciers can significantly alter ice discharge at sub-decadal timescales, with at least a potential to respond rapidly to a changing climate. PMID:15577906

  19. Undercutting of marine-terminating glaciers in West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rignot, Eric; Fenty, Ian; Xu, Yun; Cai, Cilan; Kemp, Chris

    2015-07-01

    Marine-terminating glaciers control most of Greenland's ice discharge into the ocean, but little is known about the geometry of their frontal regions. Here we use side-looking, multibeam echo sounding observations to reveal that their frontal ice cliffs are grounded deeper below sea level than previously measured and their ice faces are neither vertical nor smooth but often undercut by the ocean and rough. Deep glacier grounding enables contact with subsurface, warm, salty Atlantic waters (AW) which melts ice at rates of meters per day. We detect cavities undercutting the base of the calving faces at the sites of subglacial water (SGW) discharge predicted by a hydrological model. The observed pattern of undercutting is consistent with numerical simulations of ice melt in which buoyant plumes of SGW transport warm AW to the ice faces. Glacier undercutting likely enhances iceberg calving, impacting ice front stability and, in turn, the glacier mass balance.

  20. Sensitivity of Greenland outlet glacier dynamics to submarine melting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beckmann, Johanna; Siegrfied, Merten; Perrette, Mahé; Carlov, Reinhard; Ganopolski, Andrey

    2015-04-01

    Over the last few decades Greenland ice mass loss has strongly increased due to surface melt and dynamic changes in marine-terminating outlet glaciers. A major reason for the retreat of these glaciers is believed to be related to increased submarine melting, which in turn is caused by surrounding ocean warming and the enhanced subglacial water discharge. These complex physical processes are not yet fully understood. Inspecting the sensitivities of submarine melting to model formulation and model parameters is crucial for investigations of outlet glacier response to future climate change. Different approaches have been used to compute submarine melt rates of outlet glaciers using experimental data, numerical modelling and simplified analytical solutions. To model the process of submarine melting for a selection of Greenland outlet glaciers, a simple submarine melt parameterization is incorporated into a one-dimensional dynamic ice-flow model. The behaviour of this submarine melt parameterization is demonstrated by running a suite of simulations to investigate the sensitivity of submarine melt to changes in ocean properties and the amount and distribution of subglacial water discharge. A comparison of the simple parameterization with three-dimensional models and experimental data is conducted to assess the quality of parameterization and improve the parameterization of submarine melting.

  1. North Atlantic warming and the retreat of Greenland's outlet glaciers.

    PubMed

    Straneo, Fiammetta; Heimbach, Patrick

    2013-12-01

    Mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet quadrupled over the past two decades, contributing a quarter of the observed global sea-level rise. Increased submarine melting is thought to have triggered the retreat of Greenland's outlet glaciers, which is partly responsible for the ice loss. However, the chain of events and physical processes remain elusive. Recent evidence suggests that an anomalous inflow of subtropical waters driven by atmospheric changes, multidecadal natural ocean variability and a long-term increase in the North Atlantic's upper ocean heat content since the 1950s all contributed to a warming of the subpolar North Atlantic. This led, in conjunction with increased runoff, to enhanced submarine glacier melting. Future climate projections raise the potential for continued increases in warming and ice-mass loss, with implications for sea level and climate. PMID:24305146

  2. Modeling ice front Dynamics of Greenland outlet glaciers using ISSM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morlighem, M.; Bondzio, J. H.; Seroussi, H. L.; Rignot, E. J.

    2015-12-01

    The recent increase in the rate of mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet is primarily due to the acceleration and thinning of outlet glaciers along the coast. This acceleration is a dynamic response to the retreat of calving fronts, which leads to a loss in resistive stresses. These processes need to be included in ice sheet models in order to be able to accurately reproduce current trends in mass loss, and in the long term reduce the uncertainty in the contribution of ice sheets to sea level rise. Today, the vast majority of ice sheet models that include moving boundaries are one dimensional flow line and vertical flow band models, that are not adapted to the complex geometries of Greenland outlet glaciers, as they do not accurately capture changes in lateral stresses. Here, we use the level set method to track moving boundaries within a 2D plane view model of the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), and investigate the sensitivity of Store Glacier, in western Greenland, to the amount of melting occurring at its calving front. We explore different calving laws and obtain the best results with a new simple calving law adapted from von Mises yield criterion. We show that the ocean circulation near the front and the amount of runoff are able to trigger ice front advance and retreat depending on the amount of melting that they produce at the calving face, but the bed topography controls the stable positions of the ice front. The modeled calving front of Store Glacier, for which we have quality bed topography and sea floor bathymetry data, is particularly stable because of the presence of a large sill at the glacier terminus. If the ice front detaches from this stabilizing sill due to larger amounts of melting at the front or due to large calving events, the glacier front starts to retreat as the bed deepens inland, until it finds another stabilizing feature in the bed topography. The new bed topography maps based on mass conservation make it possible to model more

  3. Basal resistance for three of the largest Greenland outlet glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shapero, Daniel R.; Joughin, Ian R.; Poinar, Kristin; Morlighem, Mathieu; Gillet-Chaulet, Fabien

    2016-01-01

    Resistance at the ice-bed interface provides a strong control on the response of ice streams and outlet glaciers to external forcing, yet it is not observable by remote sensing. We used inverse methods constrained by satellite observations to infer the basal resistance to flow underneath three of the Greenland Ice Sheet's largest outlet glaciers. In regions of fast ice flow and high (>250 kPa) driving stresses, ice is often assumed to flow over a strong bed. We found, however, that the beds of these three glaciers provide almost no resistance under the fast-flowing trunk. Instead, resistance to flow is provided by the lateral margins and stronger beds underlying slower-moving ice upstream. Additionally, we found isolated patches of high basal resistivity within the predominantly weak beds. Because these small-scale (<1 ice thickness) features may be artifacts of overfitting our solution to measurement errors, we tested their robustness to different degrees of regularization.

  4. Investigating Long-term Behavior of Outlet Glaciers in Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Csatho, Beata; vanderVeen, Kees; Schenk, Toni

    2005-01-01

    Repeat surveys by airborne laser altimetry in the 1990s have revealed significant thinning of outlet glaciers draining the interior of the Greenland Ice Sheet, with thinning rates up to several meters per year. To fully appreciate the significance of these recent glacier changes, the magnitude of retreat and surface lowering must be placed within the broader context of the retreat since the Last Glacial Maximum and, more significantly, of the retreat following the temporary glacier advance during the Little Ice Age (LIA). The LIA maximum stand is marked by trimlines, sharp boundaries between recently deglacifated unvegetated rocks, and vegetated surfaces at higher elevations. The objective of this project was to demonstrate the use of remote sensing data to map these trimlines and other glacial geomorphologic features.

  5. Glaciers and ice caps outside Greenland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sharp, Marin; Wolken, G.; Burgess, D.; Cogley, J.G.; Copland, L.; Thomson, L.; Arendt, A.; Wouters, B.; Kohler, J.; Andreassen, L.M.; O'Neel, Shad; Pelto, M.

    2015-01-01

    Mountain glaciers and ice caps cover an area of over 400 000 km2 in the Arctic, and are a major influence on global sea level (Gardner et al. 2011, 2013; Jacob et al. 2012). They gain mass by snow accumulation and lose mass by meltwater runoff. Where they terminate in water (ocean or lake), they also lose mass by iceberg calving. The climatic mass balance (Bclim, the difference between annual snow accumulation and annual meltwater runoff) is a widely used index of how glaciers respond to climate variability and change. The total mass balance (ΔM) is defined as the difference between annual snow accumulation and annual mass losses (by iceberg calving plus runoff).

  6. Accelerating Ice Loss from the Fastest Greenland and Antarctic Glaciers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas, R.; Frederick, E.; Li, J.; Krabill, W.; Manizade, S.; Paden, J.; Sonntag, J.; Swift, R.; Yungel, J.

    2011-01-01

    Ice discharge from the fastest glaciers draining the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets . Jakobshavn Isbrae (JI) and Pine Island Glacier (PIG). continues to increase, and is now more than double that needed to balance snowfall in their catchment basins. Velocity increase probably resulted from decreased buttressing from thinning (and, for JI, breakup) of their floating ice tongues, and from reduced basal drag as grounding lines on both glaciers retreat. JI flows directly into the ocean as it becomes afloat, and here creep rates are proportional to the cube of bed depth. Rapid thinning of the PIG ice shelf increases the likelihood of its breakup, and subsequent rapid increase in discharge velocity. Results from a simple model indicate that JI velocities should almost double to >20 km/a by 2015, with velocities on PIG increasing to >10 km/a after breakup of its ice shelf. These high velocities would probably be sustained over many decades as the glaciers retreat within their long, very deep troughs. Resulting sea ]level rise would average about 1.5 mm/a.

  7. Accelerating ice loss from the fastest Greenland and Antarctic glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, R.; Frederick, E.; Li, J.; Krabill, W.; Manizade, S.; Paden, J.; Sonntag, J.; Swift, R.; Yungel, J.

    2011-05-01

    Ice discharge from the fastest glaciers draining the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets - Jakobshavn Isbrae (JI) and Pine Island Glacier (PIG)- continues to increase, and is now more than double that needed to balance snowfall in their catchment basins. Velocity increase probably resulted from decreased buttressing from thinning (and, for JI, breakup) of their floating ice tongues, and from reduced basal drag as grounding lines on both glaciers retreat. JI flows directly into the ocean as it becomes afloat, and here creep rates are proportional to the cube of bed depth. Rapid thinning of the PIG ice shelf increases the likelihood of its breakup, and subsequent rapid increase in discharge velocity. Results from a simple model indicate that JI velocities should almost double to >20 km a-1 by 2015, with velocities on PIG increasing to >10 km a-1 after breakup of its ice shelf. These high velocities would probably be sustained over many decades as the glaciers retreat within their long, very deep troughs. Resulting sea-level rise would average about 1.5 mm a-1.

  8. Global Warming and Glaciers Melting at Fjords in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coelho, Pablo

    2015-04-01

    This paper presents a discussion on the validation or not of a likely paradigm about the melting of polar glaciers and their direct impact on increasing ocean levels. Physico-chemical properties of ocean waters, as well as anomalies in the thermal behavior of water are used as providers of this discussion using fjords of Greenland as study area. This text seeks to infer the relationship between the most recent developments in global warming, specifically dealing with the melting of glaciers located in fjords in the eastern part of Greenland, increasing the water temperature in ocean currents and changes in sea levels. We emphasize the importance of the correlation of the water physico-chemical characteristics in these changes perceived in the studied environment. Greenland is defined by convention as the widest oceanic island in the world. In its fjords formed in the last glaciation of the Quaternary period, basically made of ice mountains with entries to the sea, there has been melts that are discussed in this work. At first, global warming and the melting of glaciers with a consequent rise in sea levels are presented almost as an axiom. This paper seeks to address the conclusions arising from this type of research according the basic laws of physics and chemistry, related to the behavior of water in their states (typically solid and liquid). The ultimate goal of this work glimpsed through some inferences and validation of water behavior in the ice condition and in its liquid state, a broader view with regard to the findings applied to the relationship between global warming and ice melting processes. Will be observed some water anomalies in the variation between its liquid and solid states to attempt a better understanding of the phenomena occurring in this area of interest as well as their possible impacts. It is noteworthy the fact that the water does not behave thermally as most liquids, with very specific consequences in relation to the variation between its

  9. Ice Flow in the Humboldt, Petermann, and Ryder Glaciers, North Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Joughin, I.; Fahnestock, M.; Kwok, R.; Gogineni, P.; Allen, C.

    1998-01-01

    Radar Interferometry, ice-penetrating radar profiles, and an elevation model are used to determine the catchment area, rates of ice discharge, and approximate states of balance for three large outlet glaciers in northeast Greenland.

  10. Variations of algal communities cause darkening of a Greenland glacier.

    PubMed

    Lutz, Stefanie; Anesio, Alexandre M; Jorge Villar, Susana E; Benning, Liane G

    2014-08-01

    We have assessed the microbial ecology on the surface of Mittivakkat glacier in SE-Greenland during the exceptional high melting season in July 2012 when the so far most extreme melting rate for the Greenland Ice Sheet has been recorded. By employing a complementary and multi-disciplinary field sampling and analytical approach, we quantified the dramatic changes in the different microbial surface habitats (green snow, red snow, biofilms, grey ice, cryoconite holes). The observed clear change in dominant algal community and their rapidly changing cryo-organic adaptation inventory was linked to the high melting rate. The changes in carbon and nutrient fluxes between different microbial pools (from snow to ice, cryoconite holes and glacial forefronts) revealed that snow and ice algae dominate the net primary production at the onset of melting, and that they have the potential to support the cryoconite hole communities as carbon and nutrient sources. A large proportion of algal cells is retained on the glacial surface and temporal and spatial changes in pigmentation contribute to the darkening of the snow and ice surfaces. This implies that the fast, melt-induced algal growth has a high albedo reduction potential, and this may lead to a positive feedback speeding up melting processes. PMID:24920320

  11. Middle to late Holocene fluctuations of the Vindue glacier, an outlet glacier of the Greenland Ice Sheet, central East Greenland.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levy, L.; Hammer, S. K.; Kelly, M. A.; Lowell, T. V.; Hall, B. L.; Howley, J. A.; Wilcox, P.; Medford, A.

    2014-12-01

    The margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet are currently responding to present-day climate changes. Determining how the ice sheet margins have responded to past climate changes provides a means to understand how they may respond in the future. Here we present a multi-proxy record used to reconstruct the Holocene fluctuations of the Vindue glacier, an ice sheet outlet glacier in eastern Greenland. Lake sediment cores from Qiviut lake (informal name), located ~0.75 km from the present-day Vindue glacier margin contain a sharp transition from medium sand/coarse silt to laminated gyttja just prior to 6,340±130 cal yr BP. We interpret this transition to indicate a time when the Vindue glacier retreated sufficiently to cease glacial sedimentation into the lake basin. Above this contact the core contains laminated gyttja with prominent, ~0.5 cm thick, silt layers. 10Be ages of boulders on bedrock located between Qiviut lake and the present-day ice margin date to 6.81 ± 0.67 ka (n = 3), indicating the time of deglaciation. These ages also agree well with the radiocarbon age of the silt-gyttja transition in Qiviut lake cores. 10Be ages on boulders on bedrock located more proximal to the ice margin (~0.5 km) yield ages of 2.67 ± 0.18 ka (n = 2). These ages indicate either the continued recession of the ice margin during the late Holocene or an advance at this time. Boulders on the historical moraines show that ice retreated from the moraine by AD 1620 ± 20 yrs (n = 2). These results are in contrast with some areas of the western margin of the ice sheet where 10Be ages indicate that the ice sheet was behind its Historical limit from the middle Holocene (~6-7 ka) to Historical time. This may indicate that the eastern margin may have responded to late Holocene cooling more sensitively or that the advance associated with the Historical moraines overran any evidence of late Holocene fluctuations along the western margin of the ice sheet.

  12. Mechanisms that Amplify, Attenuate and Deviate Glacier Response to Climate Change in Central East Greenland. (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiskoot, H.

    2013-12-01

    A multidecadal review of glacier fluctuations and case-studies of glacier processes and environments in central East Greenland will be used to demonstrate Mechanisms that Amplify, Attenuate and Deviate glacier response to climate forcings (MAAD). The different spatial and temporal scales at which MAAD affect mass balance and ice flow may complicate interpretation and longterm extrapolation of glacier response to climate change. A framework of MAAD characterisation and best-practice for interpreting climate signals while taking into account MAAD will be proposed. Glaciers in the Watkins Bjerge, Geikie Plateau and Stauning Alps regions of central East Greenland (68°-72°N) contain about 50000 km2 of glacierized area peripheral to the Greenland Ice Sheet. Within the region, large north-south and coast-inland climatic gradients, as well as complicated topography and glacier dynamics, result in discrepant glacier behaviour. Average retreat rates have doubled from about 2 to 4 km2 a-1 between the late 20th and early 21st centuries. However, glaciers terminating along the Atlantic coast display two times the retreat, thinning, and acceleration rates compared to glaciers terminating in inland fjords or on land. Despite similar climatic forcing variable glacier behaviour is apparent: individual glacier length change ranges from +57 m a-1 to -428 m a-1, though most retreat -20 to -100 m a-1. Interacting dynamic, mass balance and glacio-morphological mechanisms can amplify, attenuate or deviate glacier response (MAAD) to climate change, thus complicating the climatological interpretation of glacier length, area, and thickness changes. East Greenland MAAD include a range of common positive and negative feedback mechanisms in surface mass balance and terminus and subglacial boundary conditions affecting ice flow, but also mechanisms that have longterm or delayed effects. Certain MAAD may affect glacier change interpretation on multiple timescales: e.g. surging glaciers do not

  13. Tomographic Observation and Bedmapping of Glaciers in Western Greenland with IceBridge Sounding Radar

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wu, Xiaoqing; Paden, John; Jezek, Ken; Rignot, Eric; Gim, Young

    2013-01-01

    We produced the high resolution bedmaps of several glaciers in western Greenland from IceBridge Mission sounding radar data using tomographic sounding technique. The bedmaps cover 3 regions: Russell glaciers, Umanaq glaciers and Jakobshavn glaciers of western Greenland. The covered areas is about 20x40 km(sup 2) for Russell glaciers and 300x100 sq km, and 100x80 sq km for Jakobshavn glaciers. The ground resolution is 50 meters and the average ice thickness accuracy is 10 to 20 meters. There are some void areas within the swath of the tracks in the bedmaps where the ice thickness is not known. Tomographic observations of these void areas indicate that the surface and shallow sub-surface pockets, likely filled with water, are highly reflective and greatly weaken the radar signal and reduce the energy reaching and reflected from the ice sheet bottom.

  14. Tide-modulated ice flow variations drive seismicity near the calving front of Bowdoin Glacier, Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Podolskiy, Evgeny A.; Sugiyama, Shin; Funk, Martin; Walter, Fabian; Genco, Riccardo; Tsutaki, Shun; Minowa, Masahiro; Ripepe, Maurizio

    2016-03-01

    Glacier microseismicity is a promising tool to study glacier dynamics. However, physical processes connecting seismic signals and ice dynamics are not clearly understood at present. Particularly, the relationship between tide-modulated seismicity and dynamics of calving glaciers remains elusive. Here we analyze records from an on-ice seismometer placed 250 m from the calving front of Bowdoin Glacier, Greenland. Using high-frequency glacier flow speed measurements, we show that the microseismic activity is related to strain rate variations. The seismic activity correlates with longitudinal stretching measured at the glacier surface. Both higher melt rates and falling tides accelerate glacier motion and increase longitudinal stretching. Long-term microseismic monitoring could therefore provide insights on how a calving glacier's force balance and flow regime react to changes at the ice-ocean interface.

  15. A novel multispectral glacier mapping method and its performance in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Citterio, M.; Fausto, R. S.; Ahlstrom, A. P.; Andersen, S. B.

    2014-12-01

    Multispectral land surface classification methods are widely used for mapping glacier outlines. Significant post-classification manual editing is typically required, and mapping glacier outlines over larger regions remains a rather labour intensive task. In this contribution we introduce a novel method for mapping glacier outlines from multispectral satellite imagery, requiring only minor manual editing.Over the last decade GLIMS (Global Land Ice Measurements from Space) improved the availability of glacier outlines, and in 2012 the Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) attained global coverage by compiling existing and new data sources in the wake of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5). With the launch of Landsat 8 in 2013 and the upcoming ESA (European Space Agency) Sentinel 2 missions, the availability of multispectral imagery may grow faster than our ability to process it into timely and reliable glacier outline products. Improved automatic classification methods would enable a full exploitation of these new data sources.We outline the theoretical basis of the proposed classification algorithm, provide a step by step walk-through from raw imagery to finished ice cover grids and vector glacier outlines, and evaluate the performance of the new method in mapping the outlines of glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet from Landsat 8 OLI imagery. The classification output is compared against manually digitized ice margin positions, the RGI vectors, and the PROMICE (Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet) aerophotogrammetric map of Greenland ice masses over a sector of the Disko Island surge cluster in West Greenland, the Qassimiut ice sheet lobe in South Greenland, and the A.P. Olsen ice cap in NE Greenland.

  16. Ocean Melting Greenland (OMG) bathymetric survey of northwest Greenland and implications for the recent evolution of its glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wood, M.; Rignot, E. J.; Willis, J. K.; Fenty, I. G.

    2015-12-01

    Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) is a five-year Earth Ventures Suborbital Mission funded by NASA to investigate the role of the oceans in ice loss around the margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which includes measurements of seafloor bathymetry from multibeam surveys and airborne gravity, glacier surface elevation from high-frequency radar interferometry, and temperature/salinity/depth from vessels and airborne-dropped probes. Here, we describe the results of the 2016 bathymetry survey of northwest Greenland that took place in the summer of 2015: july 22-August 19 and Sept 2-Sept 16 spanning from Ilulissat to Thule AFB in north Greenland, and to be complemented by a survey of southeast Greenland in 2016. We deployed a multibeam Reson 7160 with 512 beams installed on the hull of the Cape Race vessel, with enhanced capabilities for fjord wall and ice face mapping. The survey tracks were optimized based on the IBCAO3 database, recent cruises, airborne gravity data collected by NASA Operation IceBridge which indicated the presence of troughs, bed topography mapped inland using a mass conservation approach, the spatial distribution of ice discharge to locate the largest outlets and maximizing the number of major fjords sampled during the survey, with the goal to identify all troughs that are major pathways for subsurface ocean heat, and constrain as many glacier ice front thickness as permitted by time and the practicality of navigating the ice-choked fjords. The data reveal many deep, U-shaped, submarine valleys connected to the glaciers, intercut with sills and over deepened in narrower passages where former glaciers and ice streams merged into larger units; as well as fjords ending in shallow plateaus with glaciers in retreated positions. The presence of warm, salty water of Atlantic origin (AW) in the fjords is documented using CTD. Some glaciers sit on shallow plateaus in cold, fresh polar waters (PW) at the end of deep fjords, while others are deeper and standing in

  17. Variations in Sr and Nd isotopic ratios of cryoconite on glaciers in Asia, Alaska, and Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nagatsuka, N.; Takeuchi, N.; Nakano, T.

    2012-12-01

    higher Sr and lower Nd ratios in the north and also showed little variation within a glacier. On the other hand, those on Alaskan glacier showed lower Sr and large spatial variation in Nd on a glacier. Cryoconite on Greenlandic glaciers showed further high Sr and low Nd than the other glaciers. This suggests that origins of silicate minerals in cryoconite are substantially different among the glaciers. Compared with the isotopic ratios of silicate minerals in moraine, desert, and loess reported over the regions, those in cryoconite on Asian, Alaskan, and Greenlandic glaciers were close to those in respective regions. This result indicates that silicate minerals in cryoconite were derived from surrounding the glaciers. The Sr isotopic ratios of organic matter in cryoconite also varied among the glaciers. They may reflect the minerals used by glacial microbes as nutrients.

  18. Seismic and satellite observations of calving activity at major glacier fronts in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Danesi, Stefania; Salimbeni, Simone; Urbini, Stefano; Pondrelli, Silvia; Margheriti, Lucia

    2016-04-01

    The interaction between oceans and large outlet glaciers in polar regions contributes to the budget of the global water cycle. We have observed the dynamic of sizeable outlet glaciers in Greenland by the analysis of seismic data collected by the regional seismic network Greenland Ice Sheet Monitoring Network (GLISN) trying also to find out correspondence in the glacier tongue evolution derived by the observation of satellite images. By studying the long-period seismic signals at stations located at the mouth of large fjords (e.g. ILULI, NUUG, KULLO), we identify major calving events through the detection of the ground flexure in response to seiche waves generated by iceberg detachments. 
For the time spanning the period between 2010-2014, we fill out calving-event catalogues which can be useful for the estimation of spatial and temporal variations in volume of ice loss at major active fronts in Greenland.

  19. Ensemble simulations of Greenland outlet glaciers into the 21st century

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perrette, Mahé; Beckmann, Johanna; Alexander, David; Calov, Reinhard; Ganopolski, Andrey

    2015-04-01

    Greenland ice sheet contribution to sea level rise can be partitioned between increased surface melting and enhanced dynamic discharge in the ocean, via its outlet glaciers. Marine-terminating, outlet glaciers are challenging to include in conventional Greenland-wide ice sheet models because of the large variation in scale between model grid size (typically 10 km) and outlet glacier width (typically 1-5km), making it a subgrid scale feature. A possible approach to tackle this problem is to use one-dimensional flowline models for the individual glaciers (e.g. Nick et al., 2013, Nature), as used in the IPCCAR5, but data are scarce and results are sensitive to model formulation (Enderlin et al 2013a,b, The Cryosphere). Here, we perform an extensive uncertainty analysis of projections into the 21st century with a flowline model by generating an ensemble of simulations for some of the largest Greenland outlet glaciers. Geometry, boundary conditions and forcing are systematically varied within the range of observational uncertainty and to reflect our physical understanding of processes, while remaining consistent with present-day geometry and observed changes. Dominant sources of uncertainty are analyzed and compared between the glaciers.

  20. Ice sheets. Reverse glacier motion during iceberg calving and the cause of glacial earthquakes.

    PubMed

    Murray, T; Nettles, M; Selmes, N; Cathles, L M; Burton, J C; James, T D; Edwards, S; Martin, I; O'Farrell, T; Aspey, R; Rutt, I; Baugé, T

    2015-07-17

    Nearly half of Greenland's mass loss occurs through iceberg calving, but the physical mechanisms operating during calving are poorly known and in situ observations are sparse. We show that calving at Greenland's Helheim Glacier causes a minutes-long reversal of the glacier's horizontal flow and a downward deflection of its terminus. The reverse motion results from the horizontal force caused by iceberg capsize and acceleration away from the glacier front. The downward motion results from a hydrodynamic pressure drop behind the capsizing berg, which also causes an upward force on the solid Earth. These forces are the source of glacial earthquakes, globally detectable seismic events whose proper interpretation will allow remote sensing of calving processes occurring at increasing numbers of outlet glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. PMID:26113640

  1. Modeling of submarine melting of Greenland tidewater glaciers using an ocean general circulation model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Y.; Rignot, E. J.; Menemenlis, D.; Koppes, M.

    2010-12-01

    The acceleration of Greenland tidewater glaciers has increased the mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Submarine melting is one of the possible drivers for glacier acceleration. Enhanced submarine melting could result from ocean warming, changes in ocean current, and increase in sub-glacial runoff. We use a combination of numerical modeling and field data to understand the mechanism of submarine melting in Greenland. Specifically, oceanographic data (temperature, salinity, and current velocity) were collected in August 2008 and 2010 near the calving fronts of the Lille Gletscher, Store Gletscher, Eqip Sermia, Kangilerngata Sermia, Sermeq Kujatdleq and Sermeq Avangnardleq glaciers in central West Greenland. These data are compared to high-resolution regional ocean simulations carried out using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model (MITgcm). MITgcm includes submarine melting at the base of an ice shelf and we have added a new module to simulate the melting process along the vertical calving face of Greenland tidewater glaciers. We integrate the MITgcm with JRA25 atmospheric and ECCO2 oceanic boundary conditions and compare the simulation results with the West Greenland data. We also conduct model sensitivity studies for ocean temperature, sub-glacial runoff, and fjord. The preliminary results show a quadratic increase in submarine melting with warmer ocean temperature and a role of sub-glacial runoff in changing ocean circulation. This study could help us evaluate the impact of ocean warming and enhanced runoff on submarine melting and in turn on glacier mass balance. This work is performed at UCI under a contact with NASA Cryosphere Science Program.

  2. A moderate resolution inventory of small glaciers and ice caps surrounding Greenland and the Antarctic peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, C.; Box, J. E.; Hock, R. M.; Cogley, J. G.

    2011-12-01

    Current estimates of global Mountain Glacier and Ice Caps (MG&IC) mass changes are subject to large uncertainties due to incomplete inventories and uncertainties in land surface classification. This presentation features mitigative efforts through the creation of a MODIS dependent land ice classification system and its application for glacier inventory. Estimates of total area of mountain glaciers [IPCC, 2007] and ice caps (including those in Greenland and Antarctica) vary 15%, that is, 680 - 785 10e3 sq. km. To date only an estimated 40% of glaciers (by area) is inventoried in the World Glacier Inventory (WGI) and made available through the World Glacier Monitoring System (WGMS) and the National Snow and Ice Data Center [NSIDC, 1999]. Cogley [2009] recently compiled a more complete version of WGI, called WGI-XF, containing records for just over 131,000 glaciers, covering approximately half of the estimated global MG&IC area. The glaciers isolated from the conterminous Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets remain incompletely inventoried in WGI-XF but have been estimated to contribute 35% to the MG&IC sea-level equivalent during 1961-2004 [Hock et al., 2009]. Together with Arctic Canada and Alaska these regions alone make up almost 90% of the area that is missing in the global WGI-XF inventory. Global mass balance projections tend to exclude ice masses in Greenland and Antarctica due to the paucity of data with respect to basic inventory base data such as area, number of glaciers or size distributions. We address the need for an accurate Greenland and Antarctic peninsula land surface classification with a novel glacier surface classification and inventory based on NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data gridded at 250 m pixel resolution. The presentation includes a sensitivity analysis for surface mass balance as it depends on the land surface classification. Works Cited +Cogley, J. G. (2009), A more complete version of the World Glacier

  3. Stable oxygen isotope variability in two contrasting glacier river catchments in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yde, Jacob C.; Knudsen, Niels T.; Steffensen, Jørgen P.; Carrivick, Jonathan L.; Hasholt, Bent; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas; Kronborg, Christian; Larsen, Nicolaj K.; Mernild, Sebastian H.; Oerter, Hans; Roberts, David H.; Russell, Andrew J.

    2016-03-01

    Analysis of stable oxygen isotope (δ18O) characteristics is a useful tool to investigate water provenance in glacier river systems. In order to attain knowledge on the diversity of δ18O variations in Greenlandic rivers, we examined two contrasting glacierised catchments disconnected from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). At the Mittivakkat Gletscher river, a small river draining a local temperate glacier in southeast Greenland, diurnal oscillations in δ18O occurred with a 3 h time lag to the diurnal oscillations in run-off. The mean annual δ18O was -14.68 ± 0.18 ‰ during the peak flow period. A hydrograph separation analysis revealed that the ice melt component constituted 82 ± 5 % of the total run-off and dominated the observed variations during peak flow in August 2004. The snowmelt component peaked between 10:00 and 13:00 local time, reflecting the long travel time and an inefficient distributed subglacial drainage network in the upper part of the glacier. At the Kuannersuit Glacier river on the island Qeqertarsuaq in west Greenland, the δ18O characteristics were examined after the major 1995-1998 glacier surge event. The mean annual δ18O was -19.47 ± 0.55 ‰. Despite large spatial variations in the δ18O values of glacier ice on the newly formed glacier tongue, there were no diurnal oscillations in the bulk meltwater emanating from the glacier in the post-surge years. This is likely a consequence of a tortuous subglacial drainage system consisting of linked cavities, which formed during the surge event. Overall, a comparison of the δ18O compositions from glacial river water in Greenland shows distinct differences between water draining local glaciers and ice caps (between -23.0 and -13.7 ‰) and the GrIS (between -29.9 and -23.2 ‰). This study demonstrates that water isotope analyses can be used to obtain important information on water sources and the subglacial drainage system structure that is highly desired for understanding glacier hydrology.

  4. Cryo-life habitability on a polythermal glacier in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lutz, S.; Anesio, A. M.; Benning, L. G.

    2012-12-01

    Modern surface glacial ice and snow are extreme environments at the edge of Earth's biosphere and potential sites of biosignatures in future planetary missions. The primary colonization of snow and ice is an important biogeological scenario with clear implications for the life detection on other icy planets [1]. Hence, knowledge of the adaptations and survival strategies adopted by extremophiles - cryophiles - in terrestrial cryogenic environments is vital for our ability to process data from future planetary missions. Despite it being one of the most extreme habitats on Earth, glacial ice and snow fields are colonised by a plethora of organisms including snow algae, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, rotifers and even invertebrates [2]. Although low in number and diversity compared to other habitats, snow and ice algae are a major primary producer in glacial settings [3,4]. Their life cycle influences the structure and diversity of neighbouring microbial communities [5] and they produce a suite of complex molecules to protect themselves against cold [6], UV [7], or nutrient deficiency [8]. However, these adaptations are poorly understood and we know very little about the complexity of the biological inventory contained within snow and ice environments. We have been investigating the potential of carbon fluxes from snow to ice, cryoconites and runoff water on the polythermal Mittivakkat glacier in SE Greenland and the effect of cell retention at the glacial surface on the albedo. The complementary microbiological and geochemical characteristics have been characterized at a suite of sampling sites in the ablation, superimposed and accumulation zone of the glacier. Results from photosynthesis and respiration measurements (e.g., snow fields, cryoconites, glacial outflow, clean snow) show that snow and ice surfaces have the potential to accumulate algal cells which become an important source of organic carbon for cryoconites. The accumulation of cells at the glacial surface

  5. Increased glacier runoff enhances the penetration of warm Atlantic Water into a large Greenland fjord

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sole, Andrew; Payne, Anthony; Nienow, Peter; Christoffersen, Poul; Cottier, Finlo; Inall, Mark

    2013-04-01

    The retreat and acceleration of Greenland's marine-terminating outlet glaciers have been linked to ocean warming. However the mechanisms which control the transmission of this warming along fjords towards the glacier termini remain poorly understood. Here we aim to elucidate observed changes in water properties in Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord (KF), east Greenland, between 1993 and 2004 using the Bergen Ocean Model (BOM). Model outputs are compared with observed potential temperature, salinity and velocity data to determine the principal controls on heat transport within KF. The BOM includes wind, tidal and glacier runoff forcing and is able to replicate observed temperature and salinity profiles. Model results describe a robust four-layer estuarine flow, consisting of two distinct circulations. The shallow circulation (0 - ˜60 m) is forced by surface wind stress and to a lesser extent supraglacial runoff, while the intermediate circulation (˜60 - 500 m) is driven by runoff discharged into the fjord subglacially. AtlanticWater (AW) and warm Polar Surface Water (PSWw) are drawn into the fjord by the intermediate and shallow circulation cells respectively, in a pattern consistent with observations, and AW reaches Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier (at the fjord head) over a single summer. Along-fjord heat transport towards KG increases significantly with both glacier runoff and coastal water temperature. A doubling of glacier runoff produces a 29 % (48 %) amplification of mean annual (summer) heat transport towards the KG terminus. Our model shows, in agreement with observations, that maximum submarine melt rates occur when AW and PSWw are present at the fjord mouth and, crucially, glacier runoff is also high. Rising ice sheet runoff therefore increases the sensitivity of KG (and other Greenland marine-terminating glaciers) to ocean warming.

  6. The first complete inventory of the local glaciers and ice caps on Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rastner, P.; Bolch, T.; Mölg, N.; Machguth, H.; Le Bris, R.; Paul, F.

    2012-12-01

    Glacier inventories provide essential baseline information for the determination of water resources, glacier-specific changes in area and volume, climate change impacts as well as past, potential and future contribution of glaciers to sea-level rise. Although Greenland is heavily glacierised and thus highly relevant for all of the above points, a complete inventory of its glaciers was not available so far. Here we present the results and details of a new and complete inventory that has been compiled from more than 70 Landsat scenes (mostly acquired between 1999 and 2002) using semi-automated glacier mapping techniques. A digital elevation model (DEM) was used to derive drainage divides from watershed analysis and topographic attributes for each glacier entity. To serve the needs of different user communities, we assigned to each glacier one of three connectivity levels with the ice sheet (CL0, CL1, CL2; i.e. no, weak, and strong connection) to clearly, but still flexibly, distinguish the local glaciers and ice caps (GIC) from the ice sheet and its outlet glaciers. In total, we mapped ~ 20 300 glaciers larger than 0.05 km2 (of which ~ 900 are marine terminating), covering an area of 130 076 ± 4032 km2, or 89 720 ± 2781 km2 without the CL2 GIC. The latter value is about 50% higher than the mean value of more recent previous estimates. Glaciers smaller than 0.5 km2 contribute only 1.5% to the total area but more than 50% (11 000) to the total number. In contrast, the 25 largest GIC (> 500 km2) contribute 28% to the total area, but only 0.1% to the total number. The mean elevation of the GIC is 1700 m in the eastern sector and around 1000 m otherwise. The median elevation increases with distance from the coast, but has only a weak dependence on mean glacier aspect.

  7. Rapid submarine melting of the calving faces of West Greenland glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rignot, Eric; Koppes, Michele; Velicogna, Isabella

    2010-03-01

    Widespread glacier acceleration has been observed in Greenland in the past few years associated with the thinning of the lower reaches of the glaciers as they terminate in the ocean. These glaciers thin both at the surface, from warm air temperatures, and along their submerged faces in contact with warm ocean waters. Little is known about the rates of submarine melting and how they may affect glacier dynamics. Here we present measurements of ocean currents, temperature and salinity near the calving fronts of the Eqip Sermia, Kangilerngata Sermia, Sermeq Kujatdleq and Sermeq Avangnardleq glaciers in central West Greenland, as well as ice-front bathymetry and geographical positions. We calculate water-mass and heat budgets that reveal summer submarine melt rates ranging from 0.7+/-0.2 to 3.9+/-0.8md-1. These rates of submarine melting are two orders of magnitude larger than surface melt rates, but comparable to rates of iceberg discharge. We conclude that ocean waters melt a considerable, but highly variable, fraction of the calving fronts of glaciers before they disintegrate into icebergs, and suggest that submarine melting must have a profound influence on grounding-line stability and ice-flow dynamics.

  8. Connecting hydrology and evolving properties of subglacial sediment beneath Russell Glacier, Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bougamont, M. H.; Christoffersen, P.; Hubbard, A.; Fitzpatrick, A.; Doyle, S. H.; Carter, S. P.; Fricker, H. A.; Pettersson, R.

    2012-12-01

    Seasonal flow variations have been observed on a large number of glaciers in Greenland. Typical for many glaciers is a speed up during spring, a slow down during summer, and a return to the winter velocity during fall. The drainage of supra-glacial lakes, which has been observed together with transient changes in ice flow, is another common characteristic of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The subsequent processes taking place at the bed of the ice sheet is, however, hindered by a paucity of data and observations. Recent advances in numerical modeling suggest that the hydrological system of glaciers overriding a hard bed responds to changes in discharge and that slowdown occurs when there is a switch from distributed to channelized drainage, yet the possible role of subglacial sediment in storing water and modulating ice flow remains unknown. This is problematic because large areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet could be underlain by such sediment. Here, we study the potential mechanisms responsible for seasonal flow changes for glaciers overriding soft sediments with a particular focus on sediment properties evolving from changing hydrological conditions. Our chosen site of investigation is the land-terminating Russell Glacier on the West Coast of Greenland where geophysical surveys have revealed the presence of subglacial sediment with a typical porosity of 30-35% and a thickness of about 20m. We have estimated the current distribution of basal stress beneath Russell glacier from an inversion of the observed surface velocity with the Glimmer-CISM higher order ice flow model. This inversion showed production of meltwater at a rate of 0.1 m/yr, which is consistent with the presence of weak subglacial sediment. To develop an understanding of the implication of the presence of weak subglacial sediment, we used forward simulations with the Glimmer-CISM model with basal conditions prescribed according to sedimentary processes and a regional hydrology system fed by supraglacial

  9. Submarine melting at the grounding line of Greenland's tidewater glaciers: Observations and Implications. (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rignot, E. J.; Xu, Y.; Koppes, M. N.; Menemenlis, D.; Schodlok, M.; Spreen, G.

    2010-12-01

    The traditional view on the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet is that interior snowfall accumulation is balanced by discharge of surface runoff and icebergs at the periphery. Most Greenland glaciers however terminate in the ocean, and melt in contact with the warm ocean waters to produce glacial melt before detaching into icebergs. Underneath floating ice shelves, the melting process is governed by the buoyancy associated with the melting of glacier ice at the seawater-ice interface. Under tidewater glaciers, the melting process is also forced by the strongly buoyant influx of subglacial freshwater near the grounding line. In August 2008, we collected bathymetry, temperature, salinity and current velocity data in front of 4 west Greenland glaciers (Eqip Sermia, Kangilerngata Sermia, Sermeq Kujatdleq and Sermeq Avangnardleq) to calculate the rates of submarine melting of the calving faces. The results revealed large rates of melting (meters per day), and large spatial variations from fjord to fjord as well as across the calving faces. In August 2010, we returned to Eqip Sermia, Sermeq Avangnardleq and visited Store and Little glaciers to conduct similar measurements. Strong outflows of subglacial water were detected on Avangnardleq, Lille and Store glaciers, and high rates of submarine melting were deduced from the data. We find that the sea bed in front of the calving faces (100 to 500 m) are much shallower than in the bulk of the glacial fjords (800 to 900 m), and the sill depth at the fjord entrance (~300 m ) is confirmed to be the major control on the access of warm ocean waters to the submerged calving faces. In the presence of heavy brash ice, our data suggest a conceivably weakened submarine circulation. Finally, we combine our summer data with long-term records of temperature and salinity, at the depth relevant to submarine melting, from the ECCO2 ocean state estimation project to examine seasonal to long-term trends in thermal forcing from the ocean

  10. Outlet Glacier and Margin Elevation Changes: Near - Coastal Thinning of The Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abdalati, W.; Krabill, W.; Frederick, E.; Manizade, S.; Martin, C.; Sonntag, J.; Swift, R.; Thomas, R.; Wright, W.; Yungel, J.; Busalacchi, Antonio (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Repeat surveys by aircraft laser altimeter in 1993/4 and 1998/9 reveal significant thinning along 70% of the coastal parts of the Greenland ice sheet at elevations below about 2000 m. Thinning rates of more than 1 m/yr are common along many outlet glaciers, at all latitudes and, in some cases, at elevations up to 1500 m. Warmer summers along parts of the coast may have caused a few tens of cm/yr additional melting, but most of the observed thinning probably results from increased glacier velocities and associated creep rates. Three glaciers in the northeast all show patterns of thickness change indicative of surging behavior, and one has been independently documented as a surging glacier. There are a few areas of significant thickening (over 1 m/yr), and these are probably related to higher than normal accumulation rates during the observation period.

  11. Re-estimation of glacier mass loss in Greenland from GRACE with correction of land-ocean leakage effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jin, Shuanggen; Zou, Fang

    2015-12-01

    The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites can estimate the high-precision time-varying gravity field and the changes of Earth's surface mass, which have been widely used in water cycle and glacier mass balance. However, one of larger errors in GRACE measurements, land-ocean leakage effects, restricts high precision retrieval of ocean mass and terrestrial water storage variations along the coasts, particularly estimation of mass loss in Greenland. The land-ocean leakage effect along the coasts in Greenland will contaminate the mass loss signals with significant signal attenuation. In this paper, the precise glacier mass loss in Greenland from GRACE is re-estimated with correction of land-ocean leakage effects using the forward gravity modeling. The loss of Greenland ice-sheets is - 102.8 ± 9.01 Gt/a without removing leakage effect, but - 183.0 ± 19.91 Gt/a after removing the leakage effect from September 2003 to March 2008, which has a good agreement with ICESat results of - 184.8 ± 28.2 Gt/a. From January 2003 to December 2013, the total Greenland ice-sheet loss is at - 261.54 ± 6.12 Gt/a from GRACE measurements with removing the leakage effect by 42.4%, while two-thirds of total glacier melting in Greenland occurred in southern Greenland in the past 11 years. The secular leakage effects on glacier melting estimate is mainly located in the coastal areas, where larger glacier signals are significantly attenuated due to leaking out into the ocean. Furthermore, the leakage signals also have remarkable effects on seasonal and acceleration variations of glacier mass loss in Greenland. More significantly accelerated loss of glacier mass in Greenland is found at - 26.19 Gt/a2 after correcting for leakage effects.

  12. Ice dynamics of Bowdoin tidewater glacier, Northwest Greenland, from borehole measurements and numerical modelling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seguinot, Julien; Funk, Martin; Ryser, Claudia; Jouvet, Guillaume; Bauder, Andreas; Sugiyama, Shin

    2016-04-01

    The observed rapid retreat of ocean-terminating glaciers in southern Greenland in the last two decades has now propagated to the northwest. Hence, tidewater glaciers in this area, some of which have remain stable for decades, have started retreating rapidly through iceberg calving in recent years, thus allowing a monitoring and investigation of ice dynamical changes starting from the early stages of retreat. Here, we present an ice dynamical study from Bowdoin Glacier, a tidewater outlet glacier located at the northwestern margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The glacier surface experiences lowering at a rate of 1.5 m/a since 2007. A rapid calving front retreat of 260 m/a was also observed since 2008, while no significant changes occurred during the previous 20 years. From July 2014 to July 2015, we monitored, 2 km upstream from the calving front, subglacial water pressure changes in boreholes, internal ice deformation through tilt sensors at different depths, englacial ice temperature profiles from the glacier bed to the surface, and high resolution surface motion from GPS records. These measurement show that the glacier is temperate-based, yet internal deformation accounts for about 10 % of the annual surface motion. A seasonal increase in both deformation and sliding at the onset of the melt season is associated with a drop in water pressure in part of the subglacial system. These observations are used to calibrate the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) for numerical simulations of ice flow in the Bowdoin Glacier catchment, aiming for a better understanding of iceberg calving processes in relation to changes in internal and basal ice dynamics.

  13. Quantifying the Jakobshavn Effect: Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland, compared to Byrd Glacier, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, T.; Sargent, A.; Fastook, J.; Purdon, K.; Li, J.; Yan, J.-B.; Gogineni, S.

    2014-04-01

    The Jakobshavn Effect is a series of positive feedback mechanisms that was first observed on Jakobshavn Isbrae, which drains the west-central part of the Greenland Ice Sheet and enters Jakobshavn Isfjord at 69°10'. These mechanisms fall into two categories, reductions of ice-bed coupling beneath an ice stream due to surface meltwater reaching the bed, and reductions in ice-shelf buttressing beyond an ice stream due to disintegration of a laterally confined and locally pinned ice shelf. These uncoupling and unbuttressing mechanisms have recently taken place for Byrd Glacier in Antarctica and Jakobshavn Isbrae in Greenland, respectively. For Byrd Glacier, no surface meltwater reaches the bed. That water is supplied by drainage of two large subglacial lakes where East Antarctic ice converges strongly on Byrd Glacier. Results from modeling both mechanisms are presented here. We find that the Jakobshavn Effect is not active for Byrd Glacier, but is active for Jakobshavn Isbrae, at least for now. Our treatment is holistic in the sense it provides continuity from sheet flow to stream flow to shelf flow. It relies primarily on a force balance, so our results cannot be used to predict long-term behavior of these ice streams. The treatment uses geometrical representations of gravitational and resisting forces that provide a visual understanding of these forces, without involving partial differential equations and continuum mechanics. The Jakobshavn Effect was proposed to facilitate terminations of glaciation cycles during the Quaternary Ice Age by collapsing marine parts of ice sheets. This is unlikely for the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, based on our results for Byrd Glacier and Jakobshavn Isbrae, without drastic climate warming in high polar latitudes. Warming would affect other Antarctic ice streams already weakly buttressed or unbuttressed by an ice shelf. Ross Ice Shelf would still protect Byrd Glacier.

  14. The Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment - SAFIRE - on Store Glacier, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christoffersen, P.; Hubbard, B. P.; Doyle, S. H.; Young, T. J.; Hofstede, C. M.; Bougamont, M. H.; Todd, J.; Toberg, N.; Nicholls, K. W.; Box, J.; Walter, J. I.; Hubbard, A.

    2015-12-01

    Marine-terminating outlet glaciers drain 90 percent of the Greenland Ice Sheet and are responsible for about half of the ice sheet's net annual mass loss, which currently raises global sea level by 1 mm per year. The basal controls on these fast-flowing glaciers are, however, poorly understood, with the implication that numerical ice sheet models needed to predict future dynamic ice loss from Greenland relies on uncertain and often untested basal parameterizations. The Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment - SAFIRE - is addressing this paucity of observational constraints by drilling to the bed of Store Glacier, a fast-flowing outlet glacier terminating in Uummannaq Fjord, West Greenland. In 2014, we gained access to the bed in four boreholes drilled to depths of 603-616 m near the center of the glacier, 30 km inland from the calving terminus where ice flows at a rate of 700 m/year. A seismic survey showed the glacier bed to consist of water-saturated, soft sediment. The water level in all four boreholes nevertheless dropped rapidly to 80 m below the ice surface when the drill connected with a basal water system, indicating effective drainage over a sedimentary bed. We were able to install wired sensor strings at the bed (water pressure, temperature, electrical conductivity and turbidity) and within the glacier (temperature and tilt) in three boreholes. The sensors operated for up to 80+ days before cables stretched and ultimately snapped due to high internal strain. The data collected during this sensor deployment show ice as cold as -21 degrees Celcius; yet, temperature of water in the basal water system was persistently above the local freezing point. With diurnal variations detected in several sensor records, we hypothesise that surface water lubricates the ice flow while also warming basal ice. The fast basal motion of Store Glacier not only occurs by basal sliding, but from high rates of concentrated strain in the bottom third of the glacier

  15. Increased glacier runoff enhances the penetration of warm Atlantic water into a large Greenland fjord

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sole, A. J.; Payne, A. J.; Nienow, P. W.; Christoffersen, P.; Cottier, F. R.; Inall, M. E.

    2012-11-01

    The retreat and acceleration of Greenland's marine-terminating outlet glaciers have been linked to ocean warming. However the mechanisms which control the transmission of this warming along fjords towards the glaciers remain poorly understood. The aim of this paper is to elucidate observed changes in water properties in Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord (KF), East Greenland using the Bergen Ocean Model (BOM). Model outputs are compared with observed potential temperature, salinity and velocity data to determine the principal controls on heat transport within KF and to estimate resulting submarine ice front melt rates of Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier (KG). The BOM includes wind, tidal and glacier runoff forcing and is able to replicate observed temperature and salinity profiles. Model results describe a robust four-layer estuarine flow, consisting of two distinct circulations. The shallow circulation (0-~ 60 m) is forced by surface wind stress and to a lesser extent supraglacial runoff, while the intermediate circulation (~ 60-500 m) is driven by runoff discharged into the fjord subglacially. Atlantic Water (AW) and warm Polar Surface Water (PSWw) are drawn into the fjord by the intermediate and shallow circulation cells respectively, in a pattern consistent with observations, and AW reaches KG over a single summer. Along-fjord heat transport towards KG increases significantly with both glacier runoff and coastal water temperature. A doubling of glacier runoff produces a 29% (48%) amplification of mean annual (summer) heat transport towards the KG terminus, increasing estimated mean annual (summer) submarine melt rates from 211 to 273 (842 to 1244) m yr-1. In contrast, heat transport towards KG in the surface ~ 60 m of the fjord decreases with rising glacier runoff because the enhanced down-fjord component of the intermediate circulation interferes with the up-fjord part of the shallow circulation. Thus, as ice sheet runoff increases, KG's dynamic response to oceanic forcing will

  16. Future sea-level rise from Greenland's main outlet glaciers in a warming climate.

    PubMed

    Nick, Faezeh M; Vieli, Andreas; Andersen, Morten Langer; Joughin, Ian; Payne, Antony; Edwards, Tamsin L; Pattyn, Frank; van de Wal, Roderik S W

    2013-05-01

    Over the past decade, ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet increased as a result of both increased surface melting and ice discharge to the ocean. The latter is controlled by the acceleration of ice flow and subsequent thinning of fast-flowing marine-terminating outlet glaciers. Quantifying the future dynamic contribution of such glaciers to sea-level rise (SLR) remains a major challenge because outlet glacier dynamics are poorly understood. Here we present a glacier flow model that includes a fully dynamic treatment of marine termini. We use this model to simulate behaviour of four major marine-terminating outlet glaciers, which collectively drain about 22 per cent of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Using atmospheric and oceanic forcing from a mid-range future warming scenario that predicts warming by 2.8 degrees Celsius by 2100, we project a contribution of 19 to 30 millimetres to SLR from these glaciers by 2200. This contribution is largely (80 per cent) dynamic in origin and is caused by several episodic retreats past overdeepenings in outlet glacier troughs. After initial increases, however, dynamic losses from these four outlets remain relatively constant and contribute to SLR individually at rates of about 0.01 to 0.06 millimetres per year. These rates correspond to ice fluxes that are less than twice those of the late 1990s, well below previous upper bounds. For a more extreme future warming scenario (warming by 4.5 degrees Celsius by 2100), the projected losses increase by more than 50 per cent, producing a cumulative SLR of 29 to 49 millimetres by 2200. PMID:23657350

  17. Reconstructing the behaviour of a major SW Greenland tidewater glacier over the last millennium.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pearce, Danni; Mair, Doug W. F.; Rea, Brice R.; Schofield, J. Ed; Lea, James M.; Kamenos, Nick; Schoenrock, Kate; Stachnik, Lukasz

    2016-04-01

    Greenlandic tidewater glaciers have experienced widespread retreat over the last century. However, information on their dynamics prior to this are poorly constrained due to a lack of observations and paucity, in many cases of mapped or mappable deglacial evidence. Especially lacking is evidence for tidewater glacier advance during the Little Ice Age (LIA). This severely restricts our understanding of the long-term (centennial-millennial timescale) relationships between climate and calving at marine terminating margins in Greenland and elsewhere. Kangiata Nunaata Sermia (KNS) is the most dynamic tidewater glacier in southwest Greenland having retreated >22 km since its LIA-maximum (c. 1761). This project takes advantage of the site's unique combination of terrestrial evidence of glacier change (glacial geomorphology, sedimentology, and Norse archaeology) and novel marine evidence (coralline algae) to reconstruct both its advance and retreat over the last millennium. We present glacial geomorphological mapping, which followed a morphstratigraphic approach, using a combination of aerial photos, a DEM and field mapping. Radiocarbon dating from peat sequences were used to determine the timing and rates of advance of KNS to the LIAmax. This has provided evidence for pre-LIA moraines, deglacial and neoglacial, and rapid changes in meltwater routing that may have contributed to the abandonment of nearby Norse settlements. Isotopic analysis of annually banded coralline algae (Lithothamnion glaciale), collected during summer 2015, will provide proxy evidence for changes in fjord water conditions. This data will contribute towards a millennial timescale record of tidewater glacier dynamics that will help to validate models linking calving to climate.

  18. Investigation of Greenland Russell glacier with remote sensing observations and ice sheet/hydrodynamic simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yun, Hyewon; Kim, Jungrack; Tsai, YaLun; Lin, ShihYuan; Choi, Yunsoo

    2016-04-01

    There is great interest in the mechanism and consequences of arctic ice sheet migration in the context of worldwide climate change. An in-depth investigation of glacial movement involving supra/under glacial hydrological channel activities is key to understanding the acceleration of Greenland's ice sheet changes and needs to be established as an integrated model. In terms of the glacial migration involving basal hydrology, we have conducted a case study over the Russell glacier in western Greenland. Remote sensed image analyses combined with a numerical model in its melt water outflow channels, such as the Akuliarusiarsuup Kuua and Qinnguata Kuussua rivers, and ice sheet simulations were performed. Employed technical approaches are summarized as follows: 1) Collecting 3D migration vectors combining differential interferometric SAR (D-InSAR) analysis, together with the in-house pixel tracking method employing optical flow and sub-pixel refinement with C band Sentinel-1 and L band ALOS PALSAR-2 images; 2) a 2D hydrodynamic simulation based on the channel bathymetry, which was driven from calibrated LANDSAT images together with along-track stereo DTM, and 3) an ice sheet model to extract the bedrock and basal characteristics of the glaciers. In addition, we tried Sentinel-1 InSAR time series to monitor ice sheet migrations over a certain time domain. The results revealed the importance of hydrological channel morphology as a governing factor over migration speeds of glaciers. Specifically, the sub glacial processes and underlying morphology traced by remote sensing observation and the numerical model were correlated with the observed local migration speeds in terminus of the Russell glacier. Those experiences naturally will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the processes of artic glaciers. Thus, based on the output of this study, the proposed method will be extended to tackle the issues of ice sheet change occurring in the Greenland costal area

  19. Distinct Seasonal Velocity Patterns Based on Ice-Sheet-Wide Analysis of Greenland Outlet Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moon, T. A.; Joughin, I. R.; Smith, B. E.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Usher, M.

    2014-12-01

    Mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet increased significantly over the last several decades and current mass losses of 260-380 Gt ice/yr contribute 0.7-1.1 mm/yr to global sea-level rise. Greenland mass loss includes ice discharge via marine-terminating outlet glaciers and surface meltwater runoff, the former now making up a third to a half of total ice loss. The magnitude of ice discharge depends in part on ice-flow speed, which has broadly increased since 2000 but varies locally, regionally, and from year to year. Research on a limited set of Greenland glaciers also shows that speeds vary seasonally. However, for much of the west, northwest, and southeast coasts where ice loss is increasing most rapidly, there are few or no records of seasonal velocity variation. Ice velocity is influenced by several key components of the ice-sheet-ocean-climate system: subglacial environment, surface melt and runoff, and ice-ocean interaction at the ice-front (terminus). Thus, knowledge of seasonal velocity patterns is important for predicting annual ice discharge, understanding the effects of increased surface melt on total mass loss, and establishing how ice-flow responds to other climatic changes. We developed 5-year records of seasonal velocity measurements for 55 glaciers around the ice-sheet margin. Among glaciers with significant speed variations, we find three distinct seasonal velocity patterns. One pattern indicates relatively high glacier sensitivity to ice-front position, with seasonal summer speedup sustained through fall. The other two patterns appear to be meltwater controlled and indicate regional differences in which some subglacial systems likely transition seasonally from inefficient, distributed hydrologic networks to efficient, channelized drainage, while others do not. These differences in dominant velocity control mechanisms reveal likely spatiotemporal variations in the dynamic response of the ice sheet to climate change.

  20. Mass loss of Greenland's glaciers and ice caps 2003-2008 from ICESat data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bolch, Tobias; Sandberg Sørensen, Louise; Simonsen, Sebastian B.; Mölg, Nico; Machguth, Horst; Rastner, Philipp; Paul, Frank

    2013-04-01

    The melt water of the glaciers and ice caps (GIC) on Greenland could make a substantial contribution to global sea-level rise during this century. The recently finalized Greenland glacier inventory classified all GIC according to its connectivity to the ice sheet (CL0: no connection, CL1: weak connection, CL2: strong connection). This dataset allowed us for the first time to determine their mass changes separately from the ice sheet using space-borne laser altimetry data from the ICESat GLAS sensor. The accuracy of the altimetry measurements of about ±0.5 m even over rough surfaces along with their small footprint (about 70 m) is making them very suitable to assess elevation changes over GIC. A major challenge with ICESat data is the sparse density of the tracks (horizontal separation is about 30 km in southern and ~10 km in northern Greenland), and the fact that the repeat tracks can be several hundred metres apart. A further challenge is the volume to mass conversion. We extrapolated the elevation changes based on the glacier hypsometry and applied corrections for firn compaction and ice density based on climatic conditions. The Greenland GIC which are clearly separable from the ice-sheet (CL0, CL1) lost 30.1 ± 9.4 Gt a-1 or 0.08 ± 0.026 mm a-1 sea-level equivalent (SLE) between 2003 and 2008. When considering all hydrologically separable GIC (CL0-2, including the Geikie Plateau) the loss is 46.8 ± 13.4 Gt a-1 (0.12 ± 0.038 mm a-1 SLE). This is a significant fraction (about 20%) of the reported overall mass loss of Greenland (including the ice sheet) and up to 10% of the estimated contribution from the world's GIC to global sea-level rise. The mass loss of the GIC is per unit area about 2.5 times higher than for the ice sheet, and marine-terminating glaciers account for about half of the mass loss. The loss was highest in the south-eastern sector and lowest in the northern sector of Greenland.

  1. Numerical Simulation and Sensitivity Analysis of Subglacial Meltwater Plumes: Implications for Ocean-Glacier Coupling in Rink Isbrae, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carroll, D.; Sutherland, D.; Shroyer, E.; Nash, J. D.

    2014-12-01

    The rate of mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet quadrupled over the last two decades and may be due in part to changes in ocean heat transport to marine-terminating outlet glaciers. Meltwater commonly discharges at the grounding line in these outlet glacier fjords, generating a turbulent upwelling plume that separates from the glacier face when it reaches neutral density. This mechanism is the current paradigm for setting the magnitude of net heat transport in Greenland's glacial fjords. However, sufficient observations of meltwater plumes are not available to test the buoyancy-driven circulation hypothesis. Here, we use an ocean general circulation model (MITgcm) of the near-glacier field to investigate how plume water properties, terminal height, centerline velocity and volume transport depend on the initial conditions and numerical parameter choices in the model. These results are compared to a hydrodynamic mixing model (CORMIX), typically used in civil engineering applications. Experiments using stratification profiles from the continental shelf quantify the errors associated with using far-field observatons to initialize near-glacier plume models. The plume-scale model results are then integrated with a 3-D fjord-scale model of the Rink Isbrae glacier/fjord system in west Greenland. We find that variability in the near-glacier plume structure can strongly control the resulting fjord-scale circulation. The fjord model is forced with wind and tides to examine how oceanic and atmospheric forcing influence net heat transport to the glacier.

  2. Estimating ice-melange properties with repeat UAV surveys over Store Glacier, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Toberg, Nick; Ryan, Johnny; Christoffersen, Poul; Snooke, Neal; Todd, Joe; Hubbard, Alun

    2016-04-01

    In the past decade, tidewater outlet glaciers of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) have thinned and retreated when compared to the 1980s when the ice sheet was in a state of dynamic balance. With a growing amount of ice discharged into the sea by tidewater glaciers as well as more ice melting on the surface, the Greenland Ice Sheet has become the single largest cryospheric source of global sea level rise. Today, the ice sheet causes sea level rise of 1 mm per year, highlighting the need to understand the ice sheet's response to climate change. Atmospheric warming will inevitably continue to increase surface meltwater production, but the dynamic response, which includes hundreds of fast-flowing tidewater glaciers, is largely unknown. To develop new understanding of ice sheet dynamics, we investigated the mechanism whereby icebergs break off tidewater glaciers and form a proglacial ice melange. This melange is rigid in winter when sea ice and friction along the sidewalls of the fjord, or even at the sea floor, hold it together. The result is a resistive force, which reduces the rate of iceberg calving when the ice melange is rigid and is lost when the melange disappears in the summer. From early May to late July 2014, we launched unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from a basecamp on a bluff overlooking the calving front of Store Glacier, a 5 km wide tidewater glacier flowing into Uummannaq Fjord in West Greenland. The Skywalker X8 UAVs had a wing-span of 2.1m and a payload containing a high resolution camera, an autopilot system and a GPS data logger. We generated almost 70,000 georeferenced images during 63 sorties over the glacier during a 10 week field season starting 13 May 2014. The images were used to construct orhorectified mosaics and digital elevation models of the proglacial melange with Photoscan structure-from-motion software. The imagery and the DEMs were analysed statistically to understand the spatial characteristics of the ice melange. By combining the

  3. Arctic Coastal Fog over Greenland Glaciers using an Improved MODIS Fog Detection Method and Ground Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiskoot, H.; Harvey, T.; Gilson, G.

    2015-12-01

    Annual breakup of sea ice causes fog in Arctic coastal regions, which can both reduce and enhance glacier melt. With progressive sea ice loss and increasing temperatures and atmospheric moisture in the Arctic, it is essential to determine the frequency and spatial extent of fog in order to understand its present and future effects on glacier mass balance. Previously, we determined Greenland coastal fog to peak with 15-25% of days in July. Here, we present the spatial and vertical extent of significant melt-season fog events over Greenland coastal glaciers and the ice sheet. To this end, we modified a MODIS fog/low stratus detection method by Bendix et al. (2005), with verification by weather and radiosonde data, timelapse and Landsat imagery, and independent fog classifications. Our fog-detection method uses MODIS Levels 1b and 2, processed in an ENVI-ArcGIS environment as follows: 1) visual examination and application of vegetation and snow indices; 2) initial fog/low stratus discrimination with novel band thresholds and cloud products; 3) verification using cloud phase/temperature products; 4) cleaning misclassified pixels; 5) calculating fog/low stratus optical and geometrical thickness; 6) final differentiation of fog from low stratus using edge-pixel detection, trend-surface fitting, and DEM filling. The end product consists of 500 m fog-mask pixel maps over Greenland, with minimum and maximum possible extents based on classification of fog versus low stratus. Our results show that fog can cover extensive areas of the Greenland ice masses. Persistent fog events in early, mid, and late melt-season were extracted for East Greenland using fog rim detection overlain on the GIMP DEM, the Randolph Glacier Inventory, and a coast shapefile. E.g., a 4 July 2002 fog event covers 4300-5000 km2 of ice, with a maximum inland extent of 85 km to an elevation of 1250 m asl. Fog thickness over ice is 20-800 m, but can be underestimated by >50 m compared to radiosonde data.

  4. Variability of subglacial discharge recorded with thermal infrared timelapse of a tidewater glacier, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Byers, L. C.; Stearns, L. A.; Brunsell, N. A.; Catania, G. A.; Fried, M.; Bartholomaus, T.; Felikson, D.; Sutherland, D.; Carroll, D.; Shroyer, E.; Nash, J. D.; Walker, R. T.; Finnegan, D. C.; LeWinter, A.

    2015-12-01

    Subglacial hydrology and the dynamics therein are important modulators of ice flow in the Greenland Ice Sheet. At tidewater outlet glaciers the characteristics of proglacial discharge affect fjord circulation, sediment deposition, submarine melt rates, and iceberg calving. Information about the spatio-temporal variability of discharge is limited by the challenges of in situ data collection at tidewater glaciers. Here, we present summertime measurements of subglacial discharge variability using a thermal infrared (7.5μm to 13μm) camera and intervalometer at Kangerlussuup Sermia (KS), a ~4km wide outlet glacier in the Uummannaq Bay region of West Greenland (71.46 N, 51.43 W). KS has an advantageous geometry for this investigation because of its shallow grounding zone and well-entrenched subglacial hydrologic system. In tandem, these characteristics promote buoyant freshwater to rise to the fjord surface from discrete outlets at the glacier's base. We investigate the timing of plume activity at these outlets and discuss potential controls on outlet switching. Raw camera measurements cannot be accurately converted to surface temperature without correcting for environmental variables and scene geometry, both of which are time-evolving during data acquisition. Our processing methodology relies on a variety of existing techniques -- image segmentation, ray casting, atmospheric radiative transfer modeling, Monte Carlo simulations -- and a variety of ancillary data products -- satellite imagery, atmospheric reanalysis, meteorologic and hydrologic measurements -- to produce the final results. What is gained is an unprecedented view into interactions between the cryosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere that control the dynamic and sensitive terminus region of a tidewater outlet glacier.

  5. Jakobshavn Isbrae: Velocity variations from hourly to decadal time scales at Greenland's fastest tidewater glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Podrasky, David Bryan

    Outlet glaciers in Greenland, and elsewhere, have recently shown large variations in terminus position and ice flux. One example is the tidewater retreat of Jakobshavn Isbrae, which began in the late 1990s with high thinning rates, acceleration and collapse of the floating glacier tongue. The retreat has continued to the present, with glacier speeds more than doubling in two decades' time. A campaign of in-situ measurements was initiated in 2006 with the aim of determining the importance of short-term forcing as a control on the continuing evolution of the glacier. Three years of continuous GPS measurements along the centerline of Jakobshavn Isbrae reveal seasonal velocity variations due to seasonally varying terminus position. The relationship between glacier speed and surface melt is complex, with both speed-up and slowdown events in response to variations in the rate of surface melt. During a particularly long and intense melt season in 2007, a series of melt-driven slowdowns effectively reduced the mean ice flow over the whole year. On shorter timescales, the response to surface meltwater input is more predictable with diurnal velocity variations of 1--2 % that closely match changes in meltwater input. The influence of iceberg calving and tidal forcing is restricted to the lower 10 km of the glacier, imposing an upper limit on longitudinal stress coupling length of a few ice thicknesses. The response to these forcings does not exceed 5 % of mean flow. This is consistent with a glacier operating under high driving stresses. Ice sheet velocities as far as 120 km inland of the margin have responded to the continuing retreat with increases in speed. The flow has also rotated toward the centerline of the main channel. This speedup and channelization of flow are the result of evolving ice surface gradients as the glacier continues to respond to changes initiated at the periphery. This shows that ocean driven changes have led to increased ice flux far inland on the

  6. Warming Beneath the 79⁰N Glacier in Northeast Greenland and Warm Atlantic Water in Fram Strait

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dodd, Paul; Schaffer, Janin; von Appen, Wilken-Jon; de Steur, Laura; Kanzow, Torsten

    2016-04-01

    Time series measurements of temperature beneath the 79°N glacier, over the East Greenland Continental Shelf and in Fram Strait suggest that recently observed warming beneath the glacier may be caused by warm recirculating Atlantic water from Fram Strait. CTD profiles close to the 79°N glacier collected between 1997 and 2015 (5 cruises) are compared with CTD profiles over the East Greenland Shelf collected between 1980 and 2015 (15 cruises) and with repeated transects across Fram Strait between 1983 and 2015 (24 cruises). The 2009 and 2014 cruises exploited a rift in the 79°N glacier to access the cavity below without the need for drilling. The time series of observations shows that the temperature of water in the cavity beneath the 79°N glacier is rising. This warm water likely reaches the cavity via the Norske-Westwind trough on the East Greenland Shelf. The temperature of water in the southern part of this trough responded quickly to the temperature of water in Fram Strait, showing a distinct peak in 2006-8. The northern part of the trough responded less strongly, probably because it is upstream of the region where the bulk of the Atlantic Water recirculates in Fram Strait. Subsurface warm water at the northern end of the trough also had a colder signature suggesting it originates from Atlantic Water that has recirculated further into the central Arctic. We are concerned that the trough system on the East Greenland Shelf provides a short-circuit allowing heat transported from low latitudes by northward flowing Atlantic water to directly affect the Greenland Ice Sheet. If our assumptions are correct, the rising temperature of water in the Norwegian Atlantic Current potentially threatens the 79°N glacier, which drains a major part of the Northeast Greenland Ice Sheet.

  7. Trends and Variability in Observed Runoff from Land Terminating Glaciers in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petersen, D.; Ahlstrom, A. P.

    2015-12-01

    The Greenland ice sheet is losing mass at an accelerated rate with both surface melting and iceberg discharge increasing notably over the last decade. The impact of Greenland ice sheet mass loss on the ongoing global sea level rise has raised concern and a better understanding of the reaction of the ice sheet to a future warmer climate is needed. Yet, observational records of surface melting have so far only been in the form of stake readings or short-term discharge measurements. Here we present continuous, long-term observations of discharge from pro-glacial lake Tasersiaq in West Greenland (66.3°N, 50.4°W) whose drainage basin extends over around 8500 km2 of which around 80% is ice covered (by Greenland Ice Sheet and local glaciers). The discharge time series covers the period from 1975 to 2014 and gives insight into the hydrological system's reaction to climatic forcing, e.g. a clear impact from major volcanic eruptions is observed. Over the entire data period a significant positive trend of 0.06 km3/yr in annual discharge is seen, where the median annual discharge is 2.50 km3. In addition to the trend in annual discharge a large and increasing year-to-year variability is observed. We examine both discharge trend and variability in the context of atmospheric circulation patterns and indicators of climate variability.

  8. Annual glacier dammed lake drainage in Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lane, Timothy; Adamson, Kathryn; Matthews, Tom

    2016-04-01

    A.P. Olsen is a 295 km2 ice cap in the Zackenberg region of Northeast Greenland (74.6° N, 21.5° W), 35 km from the ZERO Zackenberg Research Station. The ice cap lies on a gneissic plateau, covering an elevation of 200 to 1450 m a.s.l. A.P. Olsen mass balance has been monitored since 2008 and reconstructed for the period 1995-2007. Meltwater from this ice cap drains into the Zackenberg River, and into Young Sund via the Zackenberg Delta. One outlet dams a c. 0.8 km2 lake fed by the northern part of the ice cap. Observational data suggests this lake drains annually, flooding subglacially into the Zackenberg River. But the impacts of these flood events on the hydrology, sediment transfer, and geomorphology of the proglacial zone downstream have not been examined in detail. Understanding the impacts of glacial lake outburst flood events is important in the sensitive Arctic environment, where glacial change is rapid. We use Landsat scenes to reconstruct lake extent from 1999-2015. This is compared to Zackenberg River discharge measurements, available from the ZERO Zackenberg monitoring programme. These datasets are used to examine the nature and timing of flood events, and assess the impacts on the Zackenberg river downstream.

  9. Quantifying the mass loss of peripheral Greenland glaciers and ice caps (1958-2014).

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noël, Brice; van de Berg, Willem Jan; Machguth, Horst; van den Broeke, Michiel

    2016-04-01

    Since the 2000s, mass loss from Greenland peripheral glaciers and ice caps (GICs) has accelerated, becoming an important contributor to sea level rise. Under continued warming throughout the 21st century, GICs might yield up to 7.5 to 11 mm sea level rise, with increasing dominance of surface runoff at the expense of ice discharge. However, despite multiple observation campaigns, little remains known about the contribution of GICs to total Greenland mass loss. Furthermore, the relatively coarse resolutions in regional climate models, i.e. 5 km to 20 km, fail to represent the small scale patterns of surface mass balance (SMB) components over these topographically complex regions including also narrow valley glaciers. Here, we present a novel approach to quantify the contribution of GICs to surface melt and runoff, based on an elevation dependent downscaling method. GICs daily SMB components at 1 km resolution are obtained by statistically downscaling the outputs of RACMO2.3 at 11 km resolution to a down-sampled version of the GIMP DEM for the period 1958-2014. This method has recently been successfully validated over the Greenland ice sheet and is now applied to GICs. In this study, we first evaluate the 1 km daily downscaled GICs SMB against a newly available and comprehensive dataset of ablation stake measurements. Then, we investigate present-day trends of meltwater production and SMB for different regions and estimate GICs contribution to total Greenland mass loss. These data are considered valuable for model evaluation and prediction of future sea level rise.

  10. Oxygen isotope ratios in the shell of Mytilus edulis: archives of glacier meltwater in Greenland?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Versteegh, E. A. A.; Blicher, M. E.; Mortensen, J.; Rysgaard, S.; Als, T. D.; Wanamaker, A. D., Jr.

    2012-12-01

    Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is accelerating and will contribute significantly to global sea level rise during the 21st century. Instrumental data on GrIS melting only cover the last few decades, and proxy data extending our knowledge into the past are vital for validating models predicting the influence of ongoing climate change. We investigated a potential meltwater proxy in Godthåbsfjord (West Greenland), where glacier meltwater causes seasonal excursions with lower oxygen isotope water (δ18Ow) values and salinity. The blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) potentially records these variations, because it precipitates its shell calcite in oxygen isotopic equilibrium with ambient seawater. As M. edulis shells are known to occur in raised shorelines and archaeological shell middens from previous Holocene warm periods, this species may be ideal in reconstructing past meltwater dynamics. We investigate its potential as a palaeo-meltwater proxy. First, we confirmed that M. edulis shell calcite oxygen isotope (δ18Oc) values are in equilibrium with ambient water and generally reflect meltwater conditions. Subsequently we investigated if this species recorded the full range of δ18Ow values occurring during the years 2007 to 2010. Results show that δ18Ow values were not recorded at very low salinities (< ~ 19), because the mussels appear to cease growing. This implies that Mytilus edulis δ18Oc values are suitable in reconstructing past meltwater amounts in most cases, but care has to be taken that shells are collected not too close to a glacier, but rather in the mid-region or mouth of the fjord. The focus of future research will expand on the geographical and temporal range of the shell measurements by sampling mussels in other fjords in Greenland along a south-north gradient, and by sampling shells from raised shorelines and archaeological shell middens from prehistoric settlements in Greenland.

  11. Oxygen isotope ratios in the shell of Mytilus edulis: archives of glacier meltwater in Greenland?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Versteegh, E. A. A.; Blicher, M. E.; Mortensen, J.; Rysgaard, S.; Als, T. D.; Wanamaker, A. D., Jr.

    2012-09-01

    Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is accelerating and will contribute significantly to global sea level rise during the 21st century. Instrumental data on GrIS melting only cover the last few decades, and proxy data extending our knowledge into the past are vital for validating models predicting the influence of ongoing climate change. We investigated a potential meltwater proxy in Godthåbsfjord (West Greenland), where glacier meltwater causes seasonal excursions with lower oxygen isotope water (δ18Ow) values and salinity. The blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) potentially records these variations, because it precipitates its shell calcite in oxygen isotopic equilibrium with ambient seawater. As M. edulis shells are known to occur in raised shorelines and kitchen middens from previous Holocene warm periods, this species may be ideal in reconstructing past meltwater dynamics. We investigate its potential as a palaeo-meltwater proxy. First, we confirmed that M. edulis shell calcite oxygen isotope (δ18Oc) values are in equilibrium with ambient water and generally reflect meltwater conditions. Subsequently we investigated if this species recorded the full range of δ18Ow values occurring during the years 2007 to 2010. Results show that δ18Ow values were not recorded at very low salinities (< ~19), because the mussels appear to cease growing. This implies that M. edulis δ18Oc values are suitable in reconstructing past meltwater amounts in most cases, but care has to be taken that shells are collected not too close to a glacier, but rather in the mid region or mouth of the fjord. The focus of future research will expand on the geographical and temporal range of the shell measurements by sampling mussels in other fjords in Greenland along a south-north gradient, and by sampling shells from raised shorelines and kitchen middens from prehistoric settlements in Greenland.

  12. Coupled terrestrial-glacier-fjord-ocean processes in the Gulf of Alaska and Greenland (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winsor, P.; Truffer, M.

    2013-12-01

    We present coupled terrestrial-glacier-fjord-ocean system response to changes in forcing from the Gulf of Alaska focusing on the role of glacier runoff on the Alaska Coastal Current. These highly coupled systems remain severely under sampled in time and space, and point to the need for improved sampling techniques of the nearshore environment. We also present detailed measurements from western Greenland consisting of ice-strengthened satellite-tracked surface drifters equipped with CTDs covering the upper 15 m of the ocean deployed in concert with SST surface drifters, ADCPs and shipboard CTD data. This unique data set highlight the complexity of circulation and upper ocean heat and salt content in narrow glacially-dominated fjords.

  13. Coeval fluctuations of the Greenland ice sheet and a local glacier, central East Greenland, during late glacial and early Holocene time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levy, Laura B.; Kelly, Meredith A.; Lowell, Thomas V.; Hall, Brenda L.; Howley, Jennifer A.; Smith, Colby A.

    2016-02-01

    We present a 10Be chronology of late glacial to early Holocene fluctuations of a Greenland ice sheet outlet glacier and the adjacent Milne Land ice cap in central East Greenland. Ages of boulders on bedrock indicate that both ice masses receded during the Younger Dryas (YD), likely due to rising summer temperatures. Since Greenland ice core records register cold mean annual temperatures throughout the YD, these ice-marginal data support climate conditions characterized by strong seasonality. The ice sheet outlet glacier and ice cap deposited inner Milne Land Stade moraines at 11.4 ± 0.8 ka and 11.4 ± 0.6 ka, respectively (mean moraine ages and 1σ uncertainties). Based on the coeval moraine ages, we suggest that both ice masses responded to climate conditions acting on the ice margins, specifically ablation. Moreover, the ice sheet responded sensitively (i.e., on the same time scale as a small ice cap) to climate conditions.

  14. Identifying potential seasonal and historical drivers of marine-terminating glacier retreat in Disko and Uummannaq Bays, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    York, A.; Frey, K. E.; Das, S. B.

    2015-12-01

    The variability in outlet glacier termini positions is an important indicator of overall glacier health and the net effects of ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions. Glacier margins fluctuate on both seasonal and interannual time scales and satellite imagery provides a critical spatially- and temporally-extensive resource for monitoring glacier behavior. Outlet glaciers have generally been retreating globally over recent decades, but the magnitude of seasonal variation, overall retreat, and foremost drivers have proven unique to each glacier. The outlet glaciers in central West Greenland are generally experiencing the same regional atmospheric forcing, yet previous studies have shown varying magnitudes of retreat over the last forty years. In this study, we utilize Landsat imagery between the years 1985 and 2014 to digitize a time series of glacier front positions of 18 marine-terminating outlet glaciers in the Disko and Uummannaq Bay regions of West Greenland. We examine potential drivers of trends in outlet glacier retreat through satellite observations of adjacent sea ice concentrations and sea surface temperatures. Additionally, reanalysis data and long-term automatic weather station measurements are investigated to contextualize the role of atmospheric drivers at both a regional and local scale. Results indicate retreat of all glaciers in the region over the study period and no indication of a south to north trend in magnitude of retreat on either a seasonal or long-term scale. The 11 glaciers in Uummannaq Bay retreated between 25 m and 3.5 km, an average of 1.22 ± 1.20 km over the entire study period. The retreat of 7 glaciers in Disko Bay ranged from 181 m to 2.3 km, an average of 1.0 ± 0.78 km over the period. Although the mean terminus retreat rate between the two bays is comparable, there remains a wide range of total retreat amounts among the glaciers. We investigate the degree of seasonal variation in terminus position as an indicator of longer

  15. Community interactive webtool to retrieve Greenland glacier data for 1-D geometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perrette, Mahé

    2015-04-01

    Marine-terminating, outlet glaciers are challenging to include in conventional Greenland-wide ice sheet models because of the large variation in scale between model grid size (typically 10 km) and outlet glacier width (typically 1-5km), making it a subgrid scale feature. A possible approach to tackle this problem is to use one-dimensional flowline models for the individual glaciers (e.g. Nick et al., 2013, Nature; Enderlin et al 2013a,b, The Cryosphere). Here we present a python- and javascript- based webtool to prepare data required to feed in or validate a flowline model. It is designed primarily to outline the glacier geometry and returns relevant data averaged over cross-sections. The tool currently allows to: visualize 2-D ice sheet data (zoom/pan), quickly switch between datasets (e.g. ice thickness, bedrock elevation, surface velocity) interpolated / transformed on a common grid. draw flowlines from user-input seeds on the map, calculated from a vector field of surface velocity, as an helpful guide for point 3 interactively draw glacier outline (side and middle lines) on top of the data mesh the outlined glacier domain in the horizontal plane extract relevant data into a 1-D longitudinal profile download the result as a netCDF file The project is hosted on github to encourage collaboration, under the open-source MIT Licence. The server-side is written in python (open-source) using the web-framework flask, and the client-side (javascript) makes use of the d3 library for interactive figures. For now it only works locally in a web browser (start server: "python runserver.py"). Data need to be downloaded separately from the original sources. See the README file in the project for information how to use it. Github projects: https://github.com/perrette/webglacier1d (main) https://github.com/perrette/dimarray (dependency)

  16. Rerouting of subglacial water flow between neighboring glaciers in West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chu, Winnie; Creyts, Timothy T.; Bell, Robin E.

    2016-05-01

    Investigations of the Greenland ice sheet's subglacial hydrological system show that the connectivity of different regions of the system influences how the glacier velocity responds to variations in surface melting. Here we examine whether subglacial water flow paths can be rerouted beneath three outlet glaciers in the ablation zone of western Greenland. We use Lamont-Doherty and Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets of University of Kansas (CReSIS) ice-penetrating radar data to create a new ice thickness map. We then use a simple subglacial water flow model to examine whether flow paths can be rerouted and identify the topographic conditions that are sensitive to subglacial rerouting. By varying water pressures within an observationally constrained range, we show that moderate changes in pressure can cause flow paths to reroute and exchange water from one subglacial catchment to another. Flow across subglacial overdeepenings is particularly sensitive to rerouting. These areas have low hydraulic gradients driving flow, so subtle water pressure variations have a strong influence on water flow direction. Based on correlations between water flow paths and ice velocity changes, we infer that water piracy between neighboring catchments can result in a different spatial pattern of hydrologically induced ice velocity speedup depending on the amount and timing of surface melt. The potential for subglacial water to reroute across different catchments suggests that multiple hydrographs from neighboring glaciers are likely necessary to accurately ascertain melt budgets from proglacial point measurements. The relationship between surface runoff, ice dynamics, and proglacial discharge can be altered by rerouting of subglacial water flow within and across outlet glaciers.

  17. Partitioning of Submarine Melt and Calving across the front of Store Glacier, Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, A., II; Chauche, N.

    2015-12-01

    Processes unique to the marine-termini of fast-flowing tidewater outlet glaciers can potentially drive extreme rates of mass wastage thereby providing a rapid link between the terrestrial ice reservoir and the oceanic sink. Here we attempt to directly quantify the pattern and magnitude of calving and melt at the front of Store Glacier, a major outlet draining the western sector of the Greenland ice sheet. Integration of range-survey technologies on a robust, heavy displacement marine platform coupled with high-resolution photogrammetry allowed the production of accurate, ~m resolution 3d digital terrain models (DTMs) of the glacier front. A swath-interferometric sonar system calibrated via an inertial motion unit stabilized with RTK GPS and vector-compass data-streams was combined with photogrammetric processing of repeat UAV surveys. The results of three repeat surveys across the front of Store Glaciers in 2012 is presented during which significant ice flow, melt and calving events were imaged, complimented with AWS, on-ice GPS stations and time-lapse/video camera sequences. The residual of successive DTMs yield the 3d pattern of frontal change allowing the processes calving and melt to be quantified and constrained in unprecedented detail. The pattern of submarine melt is further validated against indirect estimates of submarine melt derived from oceanographic circulation measurements within the fjord.

  18. The presence of thrust-block naled after a major surge event: Kuannersuit Glacier, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yde, Jacob C.; Knudsen, N. Tvis; Larsen, Nicolaj K.; Kronborg, Christian; Nielsen, Ole B.; Heinemeier, Jan; Olsen, Jesper

    Thrust-block naled in front of Kuannersuit Glacier, West Greenland, appears to have formed during the termination of a terrestrial surge event by a combination of enhanced winter runoff, rapid advance of the glacier terminus, and proglacial stress release by thrusting and stacking of naled blocks. This process is equivalent to the formation of thrust-block moraines. The thrust-block naled consists of at least seven thrust sheets, which are characterized by stratified ice with beds composed of a lower debris-rich lamina, an intermediate dispersed lamina and a top clean-ice lamina, and underlain by frozen outwash deposits. The thrust-block naled differs from basal stratified ice in the absence of internal deformation structures, a relatively low debris concentration, a clay-rich particle-size distribution and a preferential sorting of lighter minerals. The oxygen isotope composition of the thrust-block naled is indistinguishable from δ18O values from meteoric glacier ice and bulk meltwater, but different from basal stratified ice facies. The d-δD relationship indicates that thrust-block naled has been formed by freezing of successive thin layers of bulk waters with variable isotopic composition, whereas basal stratified ice has developed in a subglacial environment with regelation. This work shows that the association between proglacial naled and rapidly advancing glaciers may have significant consequences for the proglacial geomorphology and the interpretation of basal ice layers.

  19. Modeling Subglacial Meltwater Plumes across Greenland's Outlet Glaciers: Implications for Ice-Ocean Coupling in a Warming Climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carroll, D.; Sutherland, D.; Moon, T. A.; Hudson, B.; Noel, B.; Felikson, D.; Catania, G. A.; Nash, J. D.; Shroyer, E.; Bartholomaus, T.; Stearns, L. A.; van den Broeke, M.

    2015-12-01

    Meltwater accumulated on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) drains to glacier beds, often discharging into outlet glacier fjords hundreds of meters below sea level. The injection of buoyant meltwater at depth drives a turbulent plume that entrains warm bottom water as it rises along the ice face, resulting in increased submarine melt rates. Recent studies have used remotely sensed data to identify distinct seasonal flow patterns in GrIS outlet glacier dynamics, suggesting some glaciers are especially sensitive to changes at the terminus. However, we currently lack an understanding of the corresponding regional patterns in near-glacier circulation that are a first-order control on submarine melt rates and indirectly modulate the resultant estuarine exchange flow and mixing of fjord waters. In this study, we use a buoyant plume model combined with a synthesis of shipboard hydrography, moored observations, estimates of subglacial discharge, and remotely sensed data on glacier characteristics, to provide an estimate of plume properties across GrIS outlet glaciers in both time and space. We validate our model results with detailed ice-ocean measurements from neighboring outlet glacier fjords in Uummannaq Bay, west Greenland. Model and observations agree that strongly stratified fjords with deep outlet glaciers result in warm, subsurface plumes, while shallow fjords result in surface-intensified plumes that retain their cold meltwater signature. We compare these results to a high-resolution ocean model to provide an estimate of submarine melt rates during peak summer discharge. One advantage of our approach is the rapid characterization of distinct plume regimes across GrIS outlet glacier parameter space. Finally, we compare these plume regimes with characteristics of glacier behavior (ice velocity, surface elevation, terminus position), over decadal and seasonal time-scales. This comparison allows us to investigate which outlet glacier systems might be more sensitive to

  20. On the role of submarine melting of tidewater glaciers in driving the Greenland ice sheet out of balance (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rignot, E. J.; Koppes, M. N.; Velicogna, I.

    2009-12-01

    The Greenland ice sheet is losing mass and the rate of mass loss has been increasing with time. A recent comparison of the components contributing to the mass balance of the ice sheet suggests that half of the signal is caused by an increase in runoff and half by ice dynamics, i.e. the acceleration of outlet glaciers. The root cause of the glacier acceleration is a de-stabilization of the glacier frontal regions, i.e. an un-grounding of the frontal parts which reduces buttressing and allows faster rates of ice sliding to sea. While the role of surface melt water on the lubrication of the glacier bed has been highly publicized, detailed study of the effect of melt water on glacier flow suggest that it can only account for a moderate acceleration of glaciers. De-stabilization of glaciers from vertical thinning is key, yet the increase in runoff is not large enough to explain the observations. We propose instead that submarine melting of the glacier submerged faces has been the main trigger and control. In August 2008, we collected CTD and current measurements in the front of 4 glaciers, 100 km north of Jakobshavn Isbrae, in West Greenland. Calculation of heat and mass flow reveal submarine melt rates ranging from 1 to 3 meters per day, or 100 times larger than the rates of surface melt. Large variations exist from one glacier to the next, but the results suggest that submarine melting is a large contributor to glacier thinning, capable of explaining glacier un-grounding and de-stabilization. Submarine melting removes from 20% to 90% of the ice that reaches the ocean, the rest being discharged as icebergs. Prior studies totally ignored the role of submarine melting in Greenland and only considered iceberg calving. We conclude than more detailed studies of ice-ocean interactions in tidewater glacier environments are absolutely critical to better understand present-day and future evolutions of the Greenland ice sheet in a warming climate.

  1. All Is Not Lost: The Transition from Order to Disorder in Greenland's Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walker, C. C.; Schmidt, B. E.; Bassis, J. N.

    2014-12-01

    Iceberg calving is a major process involved in the removal of large volumes of ice from ice sheets to the oceans, but remains relatively poorly understood. The part of the puzzle that remains the least clear is the dynamics involved in the transition between intact glacier ice and rapid fragmentation during calving events. Because calving is a sudden rapid event, it is often the case that what gets captured by satellite observation is the before and after, rather than the exact moment of failure. Here we exploit this fact and use a statistical approach using a collapse model to investigate whether or not there exists a quantifiable critical fracture density, or "critical mass" of closely-spaced fractures, beyond which dynamic fragmentation of the glacier occurs. To do this we study the size distribution of fragments in proglacial mélange, using this information to infer physical properties of the pre-collapsed ice, such as material strength and the energy necessary to create a fragmentation event using methods widely applied in civil and even weapons engineering, but not previously applied in a glaciological context. Characterizing fracture density at different locations and quantifying a critical factor to describe the transition from highly-fractured to collapse/fragmentation region enable us to understand the distribution of observable surface fracture patterns and underlying differences within regions of individual glaciers and between glaciers. This investigation is well-served by the only-recently-available high resolution data over Greenland's glaciers by LandSat, MODIS and Operation IceBridge, among others. While many studies have focused on the propagation of crevasses in the glacier ice as a means of predicting calving, the main goal of this work is to consider the physical transition between the two phases of collapse. As such, our work focuses (1) on the pre-collapse state as characterized by crevasse pattern formation in the glacier, or level of

  2. Ocean properties, ice-ocean interactions, and calving front morphology at two major west Greenland glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chauché, N.; Hubbard, A.; Gascard, J.-C.; Box, J. E.; Bates, R.; Koppes, M.; Sole, A.; Patton, H.

    2013-11-01

    Warm sub-polar mode water (SPMW) has been identified as a primary driver of mass loss of marine terminating glaciers draining the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) yet, the specific mechanisms by which SPMW interacts with these tidewater termini remain uncertain. We present oceanographic data from Rink Glacier (RG) and Store Glacier (SG) fjords, two major marine outlets draining the western sector of the GrIS into Baffin Bay over the contrasting melt-seasons of 2009 and 2010. Submarine melting occurs wherever ice is in direct contact with warmer water and the consistent presence of 2.8 °C SPMW adjacent to both ice fronts below 400 m throughout all surveys indicates that melting is maintained by a combination of molecular diffusion and large scale, weak convection, diffusional (hereafter called ubiquitous) melting. At shallower depths (50-200 m), cold, brine-enriched water (BEW) formed over winter appears to persist into the summer thereby buffering this melt by thermal insulation. Our surveys reveal four main modes of glacier-ocean interaction, governed by water depth and the rate of glacier runoff water (GRW) injected into the fjord. Deeper than 200 m, submarine melt is the only process observed, regardless of the intensity of GRW or the depth of injection. However, between the surface and 200 m depth, three further distinct modes are observed governed by the GRW discharge. When GRW is weak (≲1000 m3 s-1), upward motion of the water adjacent to the glacier front is subdued, weak forced or free convection plus diffusional submarine melting dominates at depth, and seaward outflow of melt water occurs from the glacier toe to the base of the insulating BEW. During medium intensity GRW (∼1500 m3 s-1), mixing with SPMW yields deep mixed runoff water (DMRW), which rises as a buoyant plume and intensifies local submarine melting (enhanced buoyancy-driven melting). In this case, DMRW typically attains hydrostatic equilibrium and flows seaward at an intermediate depth of

  3. Increased mass loss and asynchronous behavior of marine-terminating outlet glaciers at Upernavik Isstrøm, NW Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larsen, Signe Hillerup; Khan, Shfaqat Abbas; Ahlstrøm, Andreas Peter; Hvidberg, Christine Schøtt; Willis, Michael John; Andersen, Signe Bech

    2016-02-01

    In order to model and predict future behavior of marine terminating glaciers, it is essential to understand the different factors that control a glaciers response to climate change. Here we present a detailed study of the asynchronous changes in dynamic behavior of four adjacent marine-terminating glaciers at Upernavik Isstrøm (UI), northwest Greenland, between 1992 and 2013. Velocities were stable for all outlets at UI between 1992 and 2005. The northernmost glacier started to accelerate and thin in 2006 and continued to do so into 2011 after which time the velocities stabilized. The second most northerly glacier started to accelerate and thin in 2009 and continued to do so until the last observations in 2013, dramatically increasing the area affected by dynamically induced thinning. The southern glaciers show little change, with the most southerly glacier undergoing slight retreat and deceleration between 1992 and 2013. These observations point out the fact that the UI glaciers are reacting to climate change on different timescales. The asynchronous behavior of the four neighboring glaciers is explained in terms of the individual glaciers geometry and terminus position. The northernmost glacier is believed to have had a floating tongue between 1985 and 2007 which disintegrated in 2007-2008. This release of back stress destabilized the glacier causing it to accelerate and thin rapidly. We suggest that the ice tongue broke up due to ocean-warming-induced thinning in the late 1990s. Recent response on UI glaciers is found to be related to increased surface melt. Our investigations suggest that three out of the four main glaciers in the UI are likely to be in unstable positions and may have the potential to rapidly thin and accelerate and increase their contribution to sea level in the future.

  4. Interactions of the Greenland Petermann Glacier with the ocean: An initial perspective (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Falkner, K. K.; Johnson, H. L.; Melling, H.; Muenchow, A.; Samelson, R. M.; Friends Of Petermann

    2010-12-01

    Petermann Glacier is major outlet glacier that drains 6% of the area of the Greenland Ice Sheet in western North Greenland. It is one of four major outlet glaciers on Greenland with a grounding line substantially below sea level (about 500m) and one of two such glaciers to retain a substantial floating tongue. The floating ice tongue of Petermann glacier is thought to lose at least 80% of its mass through ocean interaction. Based on three opportunistic ocean surveys in Petermann Fjord, we present an overview of circulation at the fjord mouth, hydrographic structure beneath the ice tongue, oceanic heat delivered to the under-ice cavity and the fate of the resulting melt water. We also present an historical perspective on the August 2010 major calving event. The 1100m-deep fjord is separated from neighboring Hall Basin by a sill that is inferred to lie between 350m and 450m deep. Hall Basin is a section of Nares Strait that connects the Arctic Ocean (at the Lincoln Sea proceeding southward through Robeson Channel, Hall Basin, Kennedy Channel, Kane Basin and Smith Sound) to Baffin Bay. Sills in the Lincoln Sea (290m) and in Kane Basin (220m) restrict communication with the Arctic Ocean and Baffin Bay. The net flux of seawater through Nares Strait is southward and relatively fresh, conditioned by sources and processes within the Arctic Ocean and locally. Within Petermann Fjord, glacial melt water appears on the northeast side at 200-600m. A cyclonic gyre occurs within the fjord mouth, with outflow on the northeast side. Oceanic heat fluxes into the fjord are sufficient to account for the observed rate of basal melting. Cold, low salinity water intrudes far under the ice and likely limits basal melting to the inland half of the tongue. The recent major calving event resulted in a loss of 300 km2 or about 20% of the total area of the floating tongue, most of which remained intact as an ice island that garnered much media attention. Available observations show calving to

  5. Tidewater Dynamics at Store Glacier, West Greenland from Daily Repeat UAV Survey

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, A., II; Ryan, J.; Toberg, N.; Todd, J.; Christoffersen, P.; Snooke, N.; Box, J. E.

    2015-12-01

    A significant component of the Greenland ice sheet's mass wasteage to sea level rise is attributed to the acceleration and dynamic thinning at its tidewater margins. To improve understanding of the rapid mass loss processes occurring at large tidewater glaciers, we conducted a suite of daily repeat aerial surveys across the terminus of Store Glacier, a large outlet draining the western Greenland Ice Sheet, from May to July 2014 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y8kauAVAfE). A suite flock of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) were equipped with digital cameras, which, in combination with onboard GPS, enabled production of high spatial resolution orthophotos and digital elevation models (DEMs) using standard structure-from-motion techniques. These data provide insight into the short-term dynamics of Store Glacier surrounding the break-up of the sea-ice mélange that occurred between 4 and 7 June. Feature tracking of the orthophotos reveals that mean speed of the terminus is 16 - 18 md-1, which was independently verified against a high temporal resolution time-series derived from an expendable/telemetric GPS deployed at the terminus. Differencing the surface area of successive orthophotos enable quantification of daily calving rates, which significantly increase just after melange break-up. Likewise, by differencing bulk freeboard volume of icebergs through time we could also constrain the magnitude and variation of submarine melt. We calculate a mean submarine melt rate of 0.18 md-1 throughout the spring period with relatively little supraglacial runoff and no active meltwater plumes to stimulate fjord circulation and upwelling of deeper, warmer water masses. Finally, we relate calving rates to the zonation and depth of water-filled crevasses, which were prominent across parts of the terminus from June onwards.

  6. Fjord - Glacier Ice Interactions: Nuup Kangerlua (Godthåbsfjord) Southwest Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Motyka, R. J.; Truffer, M.; Dryer, W. P.; Fahnestock, M. A.; Cassotto, R. K.; Mortensen, J.; Rysgaard, S.

    2012-12-01

    The study of interactions between glaciers, fjords, and the ocean in coastal Greenland is still in its infancy. Circulation of warm ocean waters into fjords has been hypothesized to play an important role in destabilizing and modulating glacier discharge from outlet glaciers in Greenland, but details on the dynamics of this interaction remain sparse. To help fill this gap, we conducted a series of hydrographic measurements over a six-day period in late August 2011 in the proglacial fjord Kangersuneq at the head of Nuup Kangerlua (Godthåbsfjord) near Nuuk in southwest Greenland. Because of iceberg conditions, we were unable to approach any closer than 12 km to the tidewater glacier Kangiata Nunaata Sermia (KNS) at the head of the fjord. We conducted the majority of our measurements over the KNS Little Ice Age (LIA) moraine, a sill which forms a barrier between the inner and outer fjord. The LIA sill lies about 22 km from KNS, spans the 4-km-wide fjord and has a maximum water depth of 170 m. Water depths fall to over 300 m on either side of this sill and all water entering or leaving the inner basin must flow over it. For comparison, we also conducted transects at a second location inside the inner basin, 12 km from the KNS terminus and in much deeper water (> 300 m). Our transects included shipboard CTD (conductivity, temperature, density) and current measurements, the latter using rail-mounted 150 kHz and 600 kHz RDI ADCPs (Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers). Iceberg conditions in the fjord prevented measurements while underway. The CTD measurements showed a highly stratified water column capped by a 5 m freshwater layer. The warmest (3 deg. C) and most saline water (32) lies directly over the sill, near the bottom of the water column. The freshwater fraction at 20 m water depth is 7.6% with 6.0% from subglacial freshwater discharge and 1.6% derived from submarine melting of ice. We timed our survey to bracket the neap tide to reduce complexities related to tidal

  7. Collaborating with the local community of Kullorsuaq, Greenland to obtain high-quality hydrographic measurements near Alison Glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porter, D. F.; Turrin, M.; Tinto, K. J.; Giulivi, C. F.; Cochran, J. R.; Bell, R. E.

    2014-12-01

    Warming ocean waters around Greenland have been implicated, along with warmer air temperatures, in the rapid increase of melt of the tidewater glaciers that drain the ice sheet. Most available regional oceanographic measurements have been collected during the summer seasons and are concentrated near the largest and most accessible glaciers. In order to gain a more comprehensive picture of the changing environment around the entirety of Greenland, more fjords, especially in the north, must be sampled. In July 2014, we travelled to Kullorsuaq in Northwest Greenland in order to foster a partnership with the local community to obtain new hydrographic data from CTD casts near Alison Glacier (74.6N, 57W). The terminus of this glacier abruptly retreated 10 km between 2000 and 2006. Although adequate observations from that time period are unavailable, our recently collected temperature and salinity data suggests that the deep water near Alison is similar to the waters further south, where near-synchronous ocean warming and glacial acceleration has been documented. Over the course of two sampling days, a hand-operated winch from a small boat was used to make standard CTD casts in front of Alison Glacier. We find evidence of glacial and mélange melt and the signature of both Polar and Atlantic Water masses at depth. Along-fjord casts illustrate how the ocean waters are modified as they circulate in and out of the fjord and the interaction of this water with the melting glacial front. At 500m depths, ocean temperatures are about 3°C above the in-situ freezing point of seawater, suggesting a possible influence of warm ocean waters on the mass loss of Alison Glacier. Using NASA Operation IceBridge and satellite altimetry data, we relate our new hydrographic data to the observed recent changes in Alison Glacier. An additional important result is that this short field campaign uncovered the possibility of working with local Greenlandic communities to aid scientists in both

  8. Bathymetry data reveal glaciers vulnerable to ice-ocean interaction in Uummannaq and Vaigat glacial fjords, west Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rignot, E.; Fenty, I.; Xu, Y.; Cai, C.; Velicogna, I.; Cofaigh, C. Ó.; Dowdeswell, J. A.; Weinrebe, W.; Catania, G.; Duncan, D.

    2016-03-01

    Marine-terminating glaciers play a critical role in controlling Greenland's ice sheet mass balance. Their frontal margins interact vigorously with the ocean, but our understanding of this interaction is limited, in part, by a lack of bathymetry data. Here we present a multibeam echo sounding survey of 14 glacial fjords in the Uummannaq and Vaigat fjords, west Greenland, which extends from the continental shelf to the glacier fronts. The data reveal valleys with shallow sills, overdeepenings (>1300 m) from glacial erosion, and seafloor depths 100-1000 m deeper than in existing charts. Where fjords are deep enough, we detect the pervasive presence of warm, salty Atlantic Water (AW) (>2.5°C) with high melt potential, but we also find numerous glaciers grounded on shallow (<200 m) sills, standing in cold (<1°C) waters in otherwise deep fjords, i.e., with reduced melt potential. Bathymetric observations extending to the glacier fronts are critical to understand the glacier evolution.

  9. Reconstructing Holocene Glacier Changes in West Greenland From Multispectral ASTER Imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huh, K.; Csatho, B.; van der Veen, C. J.; Ahn, Y.

    2006-12-01

    To understand the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet and to identify mechanisms controlling that balance and Greenland's contribution to future changes in global sea level, it is crucial to construct longer temporal records, reaching back to the Little Ice Age (LIA) or beyond. The primary objectives of this project are to develop procedures for mapping glacial trimlines, marking maximum glacier extent during the LIA, and terminal moraines indicating earlier advanced terminus positions, in central west Greenland using multispectral ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) images. The motivation for using satellite imagery for mapping glacial-geological features is the greater spatial coverage that can be achieved, as opposed to the traditional method of field mapping in restricted areas. ASTER imagery provides spectral bands spanning from the visible to the thermal infrared bands, including two stereo bands, enabling us to map the spectral properties of the Earth's surface as well as to obtain surface topography. This poster presents examples of mapping the 3D shapes of glacial geomorphological features using supervised classification, visual interpretation and advanced pattern recognition methods, and results of the volume change computation and interpretation, focusing on the Jakobshavn drainage basin. For trimline mapping, a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) was generated from the stereo bands of the same data set, followed by orthorectification using Ground Control Points (GCPs) and checkpoints extracted from stereo aerial photographs and digital maps. Surface reflectance was estimated from the raw DN values by applying the Empirical Line Correction model for atmospheric effects. Maximum likelihood classification, in supervised mode, was applied to distinguish different land cover types. Classification of the ASTER image with nine non-thermal bands provides a good discrimination between the exposed fresh rock surfaces, moraines of

  10. Reverse glacier motion during iceberg calving and the cause of glacial earthquakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murray, T.; Nettles, M.; Selmes, N.; Cathles, L. M.; Burton, J. C.; James, T. D.; Edwards, S.; Martin, I.; O'Farrell, T.; Aspey, R.; Rutt, I.; Baugé, T.

    2015-07-01

    Nearly half of Greenland’s mass loss occurs through iceberg calving, but the physical mechanisms operating during calving are poorly known and in situ observations are sparse. We show that calving at Greenland’s Helheim Glacier causes a minutes-long reversal of the glacier’s horizontal flow and a downward deflection of its terminus. The reverse motion results from the horizontal force caused by iceberg capsize and acceleration away from the glacier front. The downward motion results from a hydrodynamic pressure drop behind the capsizing berg, which also causes an upward force on the solid Earth. These forces are the source of glacial earthquakes, globally detectable seismic events whose proper interpretation will allow remote sensing of calving processes occurring at increasing numbers of outlet glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica.

  11. Jakobshavn Glacier

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2013-04-17

    ... Icebergs released from the glacier drift slowly with the ocean currents and pose hazards for shipping along the coast. The Multi-angle Imaging ... Glacier location:  Greenland Arctic Ocean thumbnail:  ...

  12. Simulating Ice-Flow and Calving on Store Glacier, West Greenland, with a 3D Full Stokes Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Todd, J.; Christoffersen, P.; Zwinger, T.; Luckman, A. J.; Benn, D.

    2015-12-01

    The mass balance and long-term stability of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica depend heavily on the dynamics of their ice-ocean margins. Iceberg calving accounts for the majority of the net annual loss of ice in Antarctica and around half of that from Greenland. Furthermore, climate driven changes to dynamics at these calving margins can be transmitted far inland. Thus, predicting future sea level contribution from the cryosphere requires an improved understanding of calving, and the processes which link it to climate and ice-sheet flow. We present results from a new 3D calving model coupled to a full-Stokes, time evolving glacier dynamic model, implemented for Store Glacier, a 5-km-wide calving glacier in the Uummannaq region of West Greenland, which flows at a rate of 20 m/day at its terminus. The model is developed using the open source finite element package Elmer/Ice, with the criterion that calving occurs when surface and basal crevasses meet. Crevasses open in response to tensile stresses near the terminus and water pressure at the bed. When the model was applied in 2D for the central flowline of Store Glacier, we found that basal topography exerts overarching control on the long term position of the calving front, while ice mélange buttressing allows the seasonal extension of a floating tongue, which collapses in early summer. New results emerging from implementation of calving in a 3D model indicate significant spatial heterogeneity in calving dynamics because the northern half of the terminus is grounded whereas the southern half is floating. This contrasting setting affects calving dynamics, further underlining the importance of geometry and basal topography, and suggesting that lower dimensional calving models may miss important aspects of calving dynamics. Our results also suggest that implementing grounding line dynamics is important for modelling calving, even for glaciers which are, for the most part, firmly grounded.

  13. A synthesis of the ongoing seasonal work in a west Greenland tidewater outlet glacier fjord, Godthåbsfjord

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mortensen, J.; Bendtsen, J.; Rysgaard, S.

    2015-12-01

    The coastal waters off west Greenland is subjected to significant temperature fluctuations which might affect the mass loss from local tidewater outlet glaciers from the Greenland Ice Sheet in different ways. We present a comprehensive hydrographic data set from a west Greenland fjord, Godthåbsfjord, a fjord in contact with the Greenland Ice Sheet through tidewater outlet glaciers. We analyze with respect to water masses, dynamics, seasonal and interannual hydrographic variability. Through seasonal observations of hydrographic and moored observations we recognize a seasonal pattern in the fjords circulation system, where an intermediate baroclinic circulation mode driven by tidal currents at the fjord entrance is associated as an important local heat source for the fjord. Four distinct circulation modes are observed in the fjord of which all can contribute to glacial ice melt. In water observation of a subglacial plume core will be presented and discussed with respect to vertical distribution of water masses and local heat budget in the fjord. The example of the extreme case of subglacial plume will be discussed (ice-dammed lake drainage).

  14. Modelling the transfer of supraglacial meltwater to the bed of Leverett Glacier, southwest Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clason, C. C.; Mair, D. W. F.; Nienow, P. W.; Bartholomew, I. D.; Sole, A.; Palmer, S.; Schwanghart, W.

    2014-07-01

    Meltwater delivered to the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet is a driver of variable ice-motion through changes in effective pressure and enhanced basal lubrication. Ice surface velocities have been shown to respond rapidly both to meltwater production at the surface and to drainage of supraglacial lakes, suggesting efficient transfer of meltwater from the supraglacial to subglacial hydrological systems. Although considerable effort is currently being directed towards improved modelling of the controlling surface and basal processes, modelling the temporal and spatial evolution of the transfer of melt to the bed has received less attention. Here we present the results of spatially-distributed modelling for prediction of moulins and lake drainages on the Leverett Glacier in south-west Greenland. The model is run for the 2009 and 2010 ablation seasons, and for future increased melt scenarios. The temporal and spatial patterns of modelled lake drainages are qualitatively comparable with those seen from analyses of satellite imagery. The modelled timings and locations of delivery of meltwater to the bed match well with observed temporal and spatial patterns of ice surface speed ups. This is particularly true for the lower catchment (< 1000 m a.s.l.) where both the model and observations indicate that the development of moulins is the main mechanism for the transfer of surface meltwater to the bed. At higher elevations (e.g. 1250-1500 m a.s.l.) the development and drainage of supraglacial lakes becomes increasingly important. At these higher elevations, the delay between modelled melt generation and subsequent delivery of melt to the bed matches the observed delay between the peak air temperatures and subsequent velocity speed ups. Although both moulins and lake drainages are predicted to increase in number for future warmer climate scenarios, the lake drainages play an increasingly important role in both expanding the area over which melt accesses the bed and in enabling

  15. Greenland Ice Sheet Mass Loss and Outlet Glacier Dynamics from Laser Altimetry Record (1993-2013) (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Csatho, B. M.; Schenk, A. F.; Duncan, K.; Babonis, G. S.; Sonntag, J. G.; Krabill, W. B.; van den Broeke, M. R.; van Angelen, J.; Blair, J. B.; Hofton, M. A.

    2013-12-01

    Comprehensive monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) by satellite observations has revealed increasing mass loss since the late 1990s. Dynamic processes have been responsible for as much as half of this estimated loss, including ice flow adjustments to past climate variations and contemporary atmospheric and oceanic forcings. Dynamical processes act on different spatial and temporal scales and can cause non-linear changes, even on short, sub-decadal time scales. Quantitative investigation of these processes is imperative for improving ice sheet models and sea-level predictions. Our 1992-2011 altimetry record has shown that dynamic thinning substantially contributes to mass loss. The large spatial and temporal variations of dynamic mass loss and widespread intermittent thinning indicated the complexity of ice sheet response to climate forcing and points to the need of continuing monitoring of the GrIS at high spatial resolution. Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and Laser Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS) airborne laser altimetry measurements, acquired by NASA's IceBridge mission, allowed us to extend the altimetry record to 2013. We generated a record of ice thickness and mass change of the GrIS spanning the period of 1992-2013, reconstructed at several thousand locations using the Surface Elevation Reconstruction and Change detection (SERAC) approach. Elevation changes are corrected for Glacial Isostatic Adjustment and partitioned into climate and ice dynamics induced components. We present the evolution of ice dynamics and climate induced mass loss of the major GrIS drainage basins in 2003-2013 to investigate their contributions to sea-level change. The detailed record of outlet glacier elevation change is consistent with the propagation of dynamic thinning or thickening initiated at lower elevations. We focus our attention to SE and NE Greenland. In SE Greenland we investigate if thinning continued on fast flowing SE Greenland glaciers (e.g., Koge Bugt, A

  16. Analysis of recent glacial earthquakes in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olsen, K.; Nettles, M.

    2015-12-01

    Large calving events at Greenland's outlet glaciers produce teleseismically detectable glacial earthquakes. These events are observed in the seismic record for the past 22 years, but the complete catalog of glacial earthquakes still numbers only ~300. The annual occurrence of these long-period events has increased over time, which makes recent years especially valuable in expanding the global dataset. Glacial earthquakes from 1993- 2010 have been analyzed systematically (Tsai and Ekström, 2007; Veitch and Nettles, 2012). Here, we analyze more recent events using the same centroid—single-force (CSF) approach as previous authors, focusing initially on data from 2013. In addition, we perform a focused study of selected events from 2009-2010 to assess the reliability of the force azimuths obtained from such inversions. Recent spatial and temporal patterns of glacial earthquakes in Greenland differ from those in previous years. In 2013, three times as many events occurred on the west coast as on the east, and these events originated predominantly from two glaciers: Jakobshavn Glacier on the west coast and Helheim Glacier on the east. Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier, on the east coast, produced no glacial earthquakes in 2013, though it produced many events in earlier years. Previous CSF results for glacial earthquakes show force azimuths perpendicular to the glacier front during a calving event, with force plunges near horizontal. However, some azimuths indicate forces initially oriented upglacier, while others are oriented downglacier (seaward). We perform a set of experiments on events from 2009 and 2010 and find two acceptable solutions for each glacial earthquake, oriented 180° apart with plunges of opposite sign and centroid times differing by approximately one half of the assumed duration of the earthquake time function. These results suggest the need for a more complex time function to model glacial earthquakes more accurately.

  17. Constraining calving front processes on W Greenland outlet glaciers using inertial-corrected laser scanning & swath-bathymetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bates, R.; Hubbard, A.; Neale, M.; Woodward, J.; Box, J. E.; Nick, F.

    2010-12-01

    Calving and submarine melt account for the majority of loss from the Antarctic and over 50% of that from the Greenland Ice Sheet. These ice-ocean processes are highly efficient mass-loss mechanisms, providing a rapid link between terrestrial ice (storage) and the oceanic sink (sea level/freshwater flux) which renders the ocean-outlet-ice sheet system potentially highly non-linear. Despite this, the controls on tidewater processes are poorly understood and a process based description of them is lacking from the present generation of coupled ice sheet models. We present details from an innovative study where two survey techniques are integrated to enable the construction of accurate, ~m resolution 3d digital terrain models (DTMs) of the aerial and submarine ice front of calving outlet glaciers. A 2km range terrestrial laser scanner was combined with a 416KHz swath-interferometric system and corrected via an inertial motion unit stabilized by RTK GPS and gyro-compass data. The system was mounted aboard a heavy displacement (20,000kg) yacht in addition to a light displacement (100kg) semi-autonomous boat and used to image the aerial and submarine calving fronts of two large outlet glaciers in W Greenland. Six daily surveys, each 2.5km long were repeated across Lille Glacier during which significant ice flow, melt and calving events were observed and captured from on-ice GPS stations and time-lapse sequences. A curtain of CTD and velocity casts were also conducted to constrain the fresh and oceanic mass and energy fluxes within the fjord. The residual of successive DTMs yield the spatial pattern of frontal change enabling the processes of aerial and submarine calving and melt to be quantified and constrained in unprecedented detail. These observed frontal changes are tentatively related to local dynamic, atmospheric and oceanographic processes that drive them. A partial survey of Store Glacier (~7km calving front & W Greenland 2nd largest outlet after Jakobshavn Isbrae

  18. Long-term dynamics of a tidewater outlet glacier in West Greenland and its relation to external forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vieli, Andreas; Luethi, Martin; Moreau, Luc; Reisser, Moritz; Ian, Joughin

    2015-04-01

    Dynamic changes of ocean-terminating outlet glaciers such as terminus retreat and flow acceleration are responsible for about half of the current mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet. Although these changes seem related to the general warming in recent decades, the detailed link between external forcing from the atmosphere and/or ocean and glacier response is not well understood. Further, existing observations of tidewater outlet glacier change also show strong temporal fluctuations and are mostly limited to the last two decades of satellite observations. It is therefore difficult to derive and interpret long-term trends in outlet glacier change which is relevant in the context of century scale predictions. Here we present and analyse a detailed long-term record of flow and geometry evolution of Eqi Sermia, a ocean terminating outlet glacier in West Greenland. This record starts in 1912 and has, due to its proximity to the main access route for early expeditions to the ice sheet, a decadal and smaller resolution. This historic record is supplemented by data from satellites and ground based radar interferometry for deriving front positions and flow velocities in the two recent decades. The front and flow speed of Eqi Sermia was more or less stable between 1912 with aslow retreat phase between 1920 to the 1960, followed by a slight readvance in the 1980s. In 2007 the terminus started to retreat very rapidly, retreated 3 km since and in a step wise fashion and almost quadrupled its flow speed at the terminus. A comparison with surface mass balance and temperature records suggests a close relation of the long-term evolution of Egi Sermia to atmospheric forcing rather than oceanic, perhaps reflecting the relatively shallow fjord depths. In contrast, the recent rapid retreat and acceleration may be due to a changing regime in the calving process and geometric effects.

  19. Modelling the transfer of supraglacial meltwater to the bed of Leverett Glacier, Southwest Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clason, C. C.; Mair, D. W. F.; Nienow, P. W.; Bartholomew, I. D.; Sole, A.; Palmer, S.; Schwanghart, W.

    2015-01-01

    Meltwater delivered to the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet is a driver of variable ice-motion through changes in effective pressure and enhanced basal lubrication. Ice surface velocities have been shown to respond rapidly both to meltwater production at the surface and to drainage of supraglacial lakes, suggesting efficient transfer of meltwater from the supraglacial to subglacial hydrological systems. Although considerable effort is currently being directed towards improved modelling of the controlling surface and basal processes, modelling the temporal and spatial evolution of the transfer of melt to the bed has received less attention. Here we present the results of spatially distributed modelling for prediction of moulins and lake drainages on the Leverett Glacier in Southwest Greenland. The model is run for the 2009 and 2010 ablation seasons, and for future increased melt scenarios. The temporal pattern of modelled lake drainages are qualitatively comparable with those documented from analyses of repeat satellite imagery. The modelled timings and locations of delivery of meltwater to the bed also match well with observed temporal and spatial patterns of ice surface speed-ups. This is particularly true for the lower catchment (<1000 m a.s.l.) where both the model and observations indicate that the development of moulins is the main mechanism for the transfer of surface meltwater to the bed. At higher elevations (e.g. 1250-1500 m a.s.l.) the development and drainage of supraglacial lakes becomes increasingly important. At these higher elevations, the delay between modelled melt generation and subsequent delivery of melt to the bed matches the observed delay between the peak air temperatures and subsequent velocity speed-ups, while the instantaneous transfer of melt to the bed in a control simulation does not. Although both moulins and lake drainages are predicted to increase in number for future warmer climate scenarios, the lake drainages play an increasingly

  20. Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet - Ice Surface Velocities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andersen, S. B.; Ahlstrom, A. P.; Boncori, J. M.; Dall, J.

    2011-12-01

    In 2007, the Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy launched the Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet (PROMICE) as an ongoing effort to assess changes in the mass budget of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Iceberg calving from the outlet glaciers of the Greenland Ice Sheet, often termed the ice-dynamic mass loss, is responsible for an important part of the mass loss during the last decade. To quantify this part of the mass loss, we combine airborne surveys yielding ice-sheet thickness along the entire margin, with surface velocities derived from satellite synthetic-aperture radar (SAR). In order to derive ice sheet surface velocities from SAR a processing chain has been developed for GEUS by DTU Space based on a commercial software package distributed by GAMMA Remote Sensing. The processor, named SUSIE (Scripts and Utilities for SAR Ice-motion Estimation), can use both differential SAR interferometry and offset-tracking techniques to measure the horizontal velocity components, providing also an estimate of the corresponding measurement error. So far surface velocities have been derived for a number of sites including Nioghalvfjerdsfjord Glacier, the Kangerlussuaq region, the Nuuk region, Helheim Glacier and Daugaard-Jensen Glacier using data from ERS-1/ERS-2, ENVISAT ASAR and ALOS Palsar. Here we will present these first results.

  1. The influence of air temperature inversions on snowmelt and glacier mass-balance simulations, Ammassalik island, SE Greenland

    SciTech Connect

    Mernild, Sebastian Haugard; Liston, Glen

    2009-01-01

    In many applications, a realistic description of air temperature inversions is essential for accurate snow and glacier ice melt, and glacier mass-balance simulations. A physically based snow-evolution modeling system (SnowModel) was used to simulate eight years (1998/99 to 2005/06) of snow accumulation and snow and glacier ice ablation from numerous small coastal marginal glaciers on the SW-part of Ammassalik Island in SE Greenland. These glaciers are regularly influenced by inversions and sea breezes associated with the adjacent relatively low temperature and frequently ice-choked fjords and ocean. To account for the influence of these inversions on the spatiotemporal variation of air temperature and snow and glacier melt rates, temperature inversion routines were added to MircoMet, the meteorological distribution sub-model used in SnowModel. The inversions were observed and modeled to occur during 84% of the simulation period. Modeled inversions were defined not to occur during days with strong winds and high precipitation rates due to the potential of inversion break-up. Field observations showed inversions to extend from sea level to approximately 300 m a.s.l., and this inversion level was prescribed in the model simulations. Simulations with and without the inversion routines were compared. The inversion model produced air temperature distributions with warmer lower elevation areas and cooler higher elevation areas than without inversion routines due to the use of cold sea-breeze base temperature data from underneath the inversion. This yielded an up to 2 weeks earlier snowmelt in the lower areas and up to 1 to 3 weeks later snowmelt in the higher elevation areas of the simulation domain. Averaged mean annual modeled surface mass-balance for all glaciers (mainly located above the inversion layer) was -720 {+-} 620 mm w.eq. y{sup -1} for inversion simulations, and -880 {+-} 620 mm w.eq. y{sup -1} without the inversion routines, a difference of 160 mm w.eq. y

  2. The Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment (SAFIRE): 1. Programme of investigation on Store Glacier, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christoffersen, Poul; Hubbard, Bryn; Bougamont, Marion; Doyle, Samuel; Young, Tun Jan; Hofstede, Coen; Nicholls, Keith; Todd, Joe; Box, Jason; Ryan, Johnny; Toberg, Nick; Walter, Jacob; Hubbard, Alun

    2015-04-01

    Marine-terminating outlet glaciers drain 90 percent of the Greenland Ice Sheet and are responsible for about half of the ice sheet's net annual mass loss, which currently raises global sea level by almost 1 mm per year. Understanding the processes that drive the fast flow of these glaciers is crucial because a growing body of evidence points to a strong, but spatially varied and often complex, response to oceanographic as well as atmospheric forcing. While the bed of glaciers elsewhere is known to strongly influence the flow of ice, no observations have ever been made at the bed of a marine-terminating glacier in Greenland. The flow of ice in numerical models of the Greenland Ice Sheet consequently rely on untested basal parameterisations, which form a likely and potentially significant source of error in the prediction of sea level rise over the coming decades and century. The Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment (SAFIRE) is addressing this paucity of observational constraints by gaining access to the bed of Store Glacier, a marine-terminating outlet of the Greenland Ice Sheet which has a drainage basin of 35,000 square kilometres and terminates in Uummannaq Fjord. In 2014, the SAFIRE programme drilled four boreholes in a region where ice flows at a rate of 700 m per year and where a seismic survey revealed a bed consisting of soft sediment. (See joint abstract by Hofstede et al. for details.) The boreholes were 603-616 m deep and direct access to the bed was confirmed by a clear hydrological connectivity with a basal water system. (See joint abstract by Doyle et al. for details.) With sensors deployed englacially (temperature and tilt) and at the bed (water pressure, turbidity, electrical conductivity), the SAFIRE will inform the ratio of internal ice deformation and basal slip, vertical strain, ice temperature, and fluctuations in water pressure linked to supraglacial lake drainage as well as diurnal drainage into moulins. In 2015, we plan to

  3. Preliminary results from hot-water drilling and borehole instrumentation on Store Glacier, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doyle, S. H.; Christoffersen, P.; Hubbard, B. P.; Young, T. J.; Hofstede, C. M.; Box, J.; Todd, J.; Bougamont, M. H.; Hubbard, A.

    2015-12-01

    As part of the Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment (SAFIRE) pressurised hot water was used to drill four 603-616 m-long boreholes to the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet at a site located 30 km from the calving front of fast-flowing, marine-terminating Store Glacier (70° N, ~1000 m elevation). Despite the boreholes freezing within hours, 4 wired sensor strings were successfully deployed in three of the boreholes. These included a thermistor string to obtain the englacial temperature profile installed in the same borehole as a string of tilt sensors to measure borehole deformation, and two sets of water pressure, electrical conductivity and turbidity sensors installed just above the bed in separate, adjacent boreholes. The boreholes made a strong hydrological connection to the bed during drilling, draining rapidly to ~80 m below the ice surface. The connection of subsequent boreholes was observed as a perturbation in water pressure and temperature recorded in neighbouring boreholes, indicating an effective hydrological sub- or en-glacial connection between them. The sensors, which were all connected to loggers at the surface by cables, operated for between ~30 and 80+ days before indications suggest that the cables stretched and then snapped - with the lowermost sensors failing first. The records obtained from these sensors reveal (i) high and increasing water pressure varying diurnally close to overburden albeit of a small magnitude (~ 0.3 m H2O), (ii) a minimum extrapolated englacial temperature of -21°C with above-freezing temperatures at the bed, and (iv) high rates of internal deformation and strain increasing towards the bed as evinced by increasing tilt with depth. These borehole observations are complemented by GPS measurements of ice motion, meteorological data, and seismic and radar surveys.

  4. Greenland Ice Sheet glacier motion and ice loss: New understanding of ice sheet behavior through remote sensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moon, T. A.; Fahnestock, M. A.; Scambos, T.; Joughin, I.

    2015-12-01

    Ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet makes up roughly a third of current sea level rise, also generating substantial local and regional freshwater fluxes. Containing more than 6 meters of sea level rise equivalent in ice, Greenland has the potential to contribute much more to rising ocean levels and freshening water in the future. Understanding the dynamics of the ice sheet, particularly the behavior of fast flowing coastal outlet glaciers, is critical to improving predictions of future ice sheet change and associated impacts. Combining velocity, glacier ice front, sea ice, and ice sheet surface melt data, we made several important advances in characterizing and understanding seasonal glacier behavior and the processes driving change: 1) seasonal velocity patterns fall into at least 3 distinct patterns, 2) these seasonal velocity patterns likely indicate differences in glacier responsiveness to ocean versus subglacial hydrologic processes, and 3) in some regions seasonal versus multi-year velocity changes appear most strongly influenced by different environmental factors. Further progress was previously hampered by limits in measurement resolution across space and time. To address this challenge, we are creating a new - and continuously growing - ice velocity dataset from Landsat 8 imagery. This data stream supports comprehensive global measurements of ice flow, providing a leap in our understanding of ice sheet motion across space and time. We offer a high-level discussion of our research findings and an introduction to the new Landsat 8-enabled data stream. Our results and measurement capabilities deliver critical new knowledge about ice sheet behavior and interaction with ocean and climate factors. These advances, in turn, have important implications for other elements of Earth system research, including climate, oceanography, and biology.

  5. Bed Topography of Store Glacier and Fjord, Greenland from High-Resolution Gravity Data and Multi-Beam Echo Sounding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    An, L.; Rignot, E. J.; Muto, A.; Morlighem, M.; Kemp, C.

    2014-12-01

    Store Glacier is a major west Greenland outlet tidewater glacier draining an area of 30,000 square km into Uummannaq Fjord, and flowing at a speed of 4.8 km per year at its terminus. The bed topography of the glacier is poorly known and the fjord bathymetry was partially surveyed for the first time in August 2012. In this study, we present a new approach for the inference of the glacier bed topography, ice thickness and sea floor bathymetry using high-resolution airborne gravity data combined with other data. In August 2012, we acquired a 250 m spacing grid of free-air gravity data at a speed of 50 knots with accuracy at sub-milligal level much higher accuracy than NASA Operation IceBridge (OIB) gravity campaign with approximate 5.2 km resolution at 290 knots flying speed. In August 2012 and 2013, we used multi-beam echo sounding to survey the sea floor bathymetry in front of the glacier, extending to the calving face of the glacier. Inland, we combined radar-derived ice thickness with ice motion vectors to reconstruct the bed topography at a high resolution. Using a 3D inversion of the gravity data, we reconstruct seamless bed topography across the ice front boundary that matches interior data and sea floor bathymetry, and provides information about sediment thickness beneath and in front of the glacier. Comparison of the results with prior maps reveals vast differences. IBCAO3 bathymetry suggests an ice front grounded at sea level while the measured ice front is grounded 550 m below sea level. The seamless topography obtained across the grounding line reveals the presence of a previously unknown sill, which explains why the glacier has been so stable in the last 50 years. The results have important impacts on the interpretation of the glacier stability, and sensitivity to thermal forcing from the ocean and surface melt. This work was conducted at UCI under a contract with the Gordon and Betty More Foundation and with NASA.

  6. Elevation Change of Greenland's Jakobshavn Glacier from ICESat, IceBridge Altimetry and TerraSAR-X DEMs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qi, W.; Braun, A.

    2012-12-01

    The recent accelerated ice mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet, and its outlet glacier in particular, has been widely documented. The Jakobshavn Isbrae/Glacier is one of the fastest melting and retreating glaciers in Greenland. Recent observations from the laser altimetry mission ICESat (2003-2009) and the airborne campaigns of the IceBridge project (2009-2011) were used to determine Jakobshavn's total elevation change for those time periods as well as annual elevation change rates. TerraSAR-X data acquired in 2009 were processed to form 3 m horizontal resolution digital elevation models (DEM), which were constrained using ICESat measurements. The elevation change results confirm previously determined rates of several decimeters per year of elevation loss. More specifically, while the outlet glacier shows elevation loss of up to several meters per year, the higher elevation areas of the ice sheet exhibit only a few decimeters per year loss and even elevation gain for some years. The study area below 1500 m elevation shows elevation change rates between -0.5 to -2.5 m/yr, the higher elevation area exhibits a much decreased rate between +0.34 and -0.55 m/yr. The Jakobshavn outlet glacier showed a consistently increasing elevation change rate of -3.0 to -5.0 m/yr between 2003 and 2011. It demonstrates that both ICESat and IceBridge observations allow for the accurate estimation of elevation change rates with uncertainties of less than 0.5 m/yr standard deviation. The major contributor to the uncertainty is the slope correction needed to project two footprints at different epochs onto a common location. The slope correction was applied based on the DEMs from ICESat and TerraSAR-X data or the IceBridge slope measurements. Both ICESat and IceBridge observations are able to demonstrate the variations in annual and seasonal elevation change rates exceeding 0.5 m/yr, a rate which is by far exceeded for low-elevation areas below 1500 m. By having an improved understanding

  7. Automated Ground-based Time-lapse Camera Monitoring of West Greenland ice sheet outlet Glaciers: Challenges and Solutions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ahn, Y.; Box, J. E.; Balog, J.; Lewinter, A.

    2008-12-01

    Monitoring Greenland outlet glaciers using remotely sensed data has drawn a great attention in earth science communities for decades and time series analysis of sensory data has provided important variability information of glacier flow by detecting speed and thickness changes, tracking features and acquiring model input. Thanks to advancements of commercial digital camera technology and increased solid state storage, we activated automatic ground-based time-lapse camera stations with high spatial/temporal resolution in west Greenland outlet and collected one-hour interval data continuous for more than one year at some but not all sites. We believe that important information of ice dynamics are contained in these data and that terrestrial mono-/stereo-photogrammetry can provide theoretical/practical fundamentals in data processing along with digital image processing techniques. Time-lapse images over periods in west Greenland indicate various phenomenon. Problematic is rain, snow, fog, shadows, freezing of water on camera enclosure window, image over-exposure, camera motion, sensor platform drift, and fox chewing of instrument cables, and the pecking of plastic window by ravens. Other problems include: feature identification, camera orientation, image registration, feature matching in image pairs, and feature tracking. Another obstacle is that non-metric digital camera contains large distortion to be compensated for precise photogrammetric use. Further, a massive number of images need to be processed in a way that is sufficiently computationally efficient. We meet these challenges by 1) identifying problems in possible photogrammetric processes, 2) categorizing them based on feasibility, and 3) clarifying limitation and alternatives, while emphasizing displacement computation and analyzing regional/temporal variability. We experiment with mono and stereo photogrammetric techniques in the aide of automatic correlation matching for efficiently handling the enormous

  8. Modeling of ocean-induced ice melt rates of five west Greenland glaciers over the past two decades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rignot, E.; Xu, Y.; Menemenlis, D.; Mouginot, J.; Scheuchl, B.; Li, X.; Morlighem, M.; Seroussi, H.; den Broeke, M. van; Fenty, I.; Cai, C.; An, L.; Fleurian, B. de

    2016-06-01

    High-resolution, three-dimensional simulations from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model ocean model are used to calculate the subaqueous melt rate of the calving faces of Umiamako, Rinks, Kangerdlugssup, Store, and Kangilerngata glaciers, west Greenland, from 1992 to 2015. Model forcing is from monthly reconstructions of ocean state and ice sheet runoff. Results are analyzed in combination with observations of bathymetry, bed elevation, ice front retreat, and glacier speed. We calculate that subaqueous melt rates are 2-3 times larger in summer compared to winter and doubled in magnitude since the 1990s due to enhanced subglacial runoff and 1.6 ± 0.3°C warmer ocean temperature. Umiamako and Kangilerngata retreated rapidly in the 2000s when subaqueous melt rates exceeded the calving rates and ice front retreated to deeper bed elevation. In contrast, Store, Kangerdlugssup, and Rinks have remained stable because their subaqueous melt rates are 3-4 times lower than their calving rates, i.e., the glaciers are dominated by calving processes.

  9. Spring bloom dynamics in a subarctic fjord influenced by tidewater outlet glaciers (Godthåbsfjord, SW Greenland)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meire, Lorenz; Mortensen, John; Rysgaard, Søren; Bendtsen, Jørgen; Boone, Wieter; Meire, Patrick; Meysman, Filip J. R.

    2016-06-01

    In high-latitude fjord ecosystems, the spring bloom accounts for a major part of the annual primary production and thus provides a crucial energy supply to the marine food web. However, the environmental factors that control the timing and intensity of these spring blooms remain uncertain. In 2013, we studied the spring bloom dynamics in Godthåbsfjord, a large fjord system adjacent to the Greenland Ice Sheet. Our surveys revealed that the spring bloom did not initiate in the inner stratified part of the fjord system but only started farther away from tidewater outlet glaciers. A combination of out-fjord winds and coastal inflows drove an upwelling in the inner part of the fjord during spring (April-May), which supplied nutrient-rich water to the surface layer. This surface water was subsequently transported out-fjord, and due to this circulation regime, the biomass accumulation of phytoplankton was displaced away from the glaciers. In late May, the upwelling weakened and the dominant wind direction changed, thus reversing the direction of the surface water transport. Warmer water was now transported toward the inner fjord, and a bloom was observed close to the glacier terminus. Overall, our findings imply that the timing, intensity, and location of the spring blooms in Godthåbsfjord are controlled by a combination of upwelling strength and wind forcing. Together with sea ice cover, the hydrodynamic regime hence plays a crucial role in structuring food web dynamics of the fjord ecosystem.

  10. Committed sea-level rise for the next century from Greenland ice sheet dynamics during the past decade

    PubMed Central

    Price, Stephen F.; Payne, Antony J.; Howat, Ian M.; Smith, Benjamin E.

    2011-01-01

    We use a three-dimensional, higher-order ice flow model and a realistic initial condition to simulate dynamic perturbations to the Greenland ice sheet during the last decade and to assess their contribution to sea level by 2100. Starting from our initial condition, we apply a time series of observationally constrained dynamic perturbations at the marine termini of Greenland’s three largest outlet glaciers, Jakobshavn Isbræ, Helheim Glacier, and Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier. The initial and long-term diffusive thinning within each glacier catchment is then integrated spatially and temporally to calculate a minimum sea-level contribution of approximately 1 ± 0.4 mm from these three glaciers by 2100. Based on scaling arguments, we extend our modeling to all of Greenland and estimate a minimum dynamic sea-level contribution of approximately 6 ± 2 mm by 2100. This estimate of committed sea-level rise is a minimum because it ignores mass loss due to future changes in ice sheet dynamics or surface mass balance. Importantly, > 75% of this value is from the long-term, diffusive response of the ice sheet, suggesting that the majority of sea-level rise from Greenland dynamics during the past decade is yet to come. Assuming similar and recurring forcing in future decades and a self-similar ice dynamical response, we estimate an upper bound of 45 mm of sea-level rise from Greenland dynamics by 2100. These estimates are constrained by recent observations of dynamic mass loss in Greenland and by realistic model behavior that accounts for both the long-term cumulative mass loss and its decay following episodic boundary forcing. PMID:21576500

  11. Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hambrey, Michael; Alean, Jürg

    2004-12-01

    Glaciers are among the most beautiful natural wonders on Earth, as well as the least known and understood, for most of us. Michael Hambrey describes how glaciers grow and decay, move and influence human civilization. Currently covering a tenth of the Earth's surface, glacier ice has shaped the landscape over millions of years by scouring away rocks and transporting and depositing debris far from its source. Glacier meltwater drives turbines and irrigates deserts, and yields mineral-rich soils as well as a wealth of valuable sand and gravel. However, glaciers also threaten human property and life. Our future is indirectly connected with the fate of glaciers and their influence on global climate and sea level. Including over 200 stunning photographs, the book takes the reader from the High-Arctic through North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, New Zealand and South America to the Antarctic. Michael Hambrey is Director of the Centre for Glaciology at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. A past recipient of the Polar Medal, he was also given the Earth Science Editors' Outstanding Publication Award for the first edition of Glaciers (Cambridge, 1995). Hambrey is also the author of Glacial Environments (British Columbia, 1994). JÜrg Alean is Professor of Geography at the Kantonsschule ZÜrcher Unterland in BÜlach, Switzerland.

  12. Seasonal and Interannual Glacier Terminus Fluctuations in Northwest Greenland and Links to Sea Ice and Velocity Trends during the 21st Century

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moon, T. A.; Joughin, I. R.; Smith, B. E.

    2014-12-01

    Current ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet is a significant component of global sea-level rise. Observations suggest that both increasing ice flow speeds and sustained terminus retreat on most Greenland glaciers have increased mass loss via ice discharge over the last several decades. However, our understanding of the mechanisms causing retreat and how well connected terminus fluctuations are to other dynamic changes in the ice sheet remains limited. We examined terminus position, sea ice and ice mélange conditions, and seasonal velocity patterns for 16 northwestern glaciers during 2009-2012, with extended 1999-2012 records for 4 glaciers. On a seasonal scale, there is strong correspondence between terminus advance and retreat and sea ice/ice mélange conditions, with a distinct seasonal signature. Longer sea-ice-free periods and reductions in rigid mélange formation appear to induce sustained multi-year retreat outside of the seasonal signal. While seasonal terminus retreat is not clearly linked to seasonal velocity patterns, multi-year retreat is accompanied by interannual speedup on most glaciers. Projections of continued warming and longer sea-ice-free periods around Greenland indicate that notable retreat over wide areas may continue. This sustained retreat likely will contribute to multi-year speedup. Longer melt seasons and earlier breakup of mélange may also alter the timing of seasonal ice-dynamic patterns.

  13. A High-Resolution Sensor Network for Monitoring Glacier Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwards, S.; Murray, T.; O'Farrell, T.; Rutt, I. C.; Loskot, P.; Martin, I.; Selmes, N.; Aspey, R.; James, T.; Bevan, S. L.; Baugé, T.

    2013-12-01

    Changes in Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets due to ice flow/ice-berg calving are a major uncertainty affecting sea-level rise forecasts. Latterly GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) have been employed extensively to monitor such glacier dynamics. Until recently however, the favoured methodology has been to deploy sensors onto the glacier surface, collect data for a period of time, then retrieve and download the sensors. This approach works well in less dynamic environments where the risk of sensor loss is low. In more extreme environments e.g. approaching the glacial calving front, the risk of sensor loss and hence data loss increases dramatically. In order to provide glaciologists with new insights into flow dynamics and calving processes we have developed a novel sensor network to increase the robustness of data capture. We present details of the technological requirements for an in-situ Zigbee wireless streaming network infrastructure supporting instantaneous data acquisition from high resolution GNSS sensors thereby increasing data capture robustness. The data obtained offers new opportunities to investigate the interdependence of mass flow, uplift, velocity and geometry and the network architecture has been specifically designed for deployment by helicopter close to the calving front to yield unprecedented detailed information. Following successful field trials of a pilot three node network during 2012, a larger 20 node network was deployed on the fast-flowing Helheim glacier, south-east Greenland over the summer months of 2013. The utilisation of dual wireless transceivers in each glacier node, multiple frequencies and four ';collector' stations located on the valley sides creates overlapping networks providing enhanced capacity, diversity and redundancy of data 'back-haul', even close to ';floor' RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) levels around -100 dBm. Data loss through radio packet collisions within sub-networks are avoided through the

  14. Of Images, Archives, and Anonymity: Glacier Photographs from Louise Arner Boyd's East Greenland Expeditions, 1933, 1937, and 1938

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nelson, F. E.; Peschel, S. M.; Hall, D. K.

    2010-12-01

    Louise A. Boyd (1887-1972) was raised to wealth and privilege in San Raphael, CA. Her inherited fortune allowed unlimited travel, and in 1924 she arrived in Spitsbergen as a tourist. Infatuated by Arctic landscapes, Boyd resolved to return north in a more assertive role and ran three "preliminary" expeditions to Greenland, in 1926, 1928, and 1931. Boyd’s expeditions to East Greenland in 1933, 1937, and 1938 were predictive of the type of campaign that after WWII would characterize government-sponsored and international scientific efforts. “Planned as a unit,” these campaigns, sponsored by the American Geographical Society (AGS), were thoroughly integrated scientific expeditions incorporating glaciology, periglacial and glacial geomorphology, bedrock geology, botany, hydrography, topographic surveys, tides and currents, and magnetic observations within representative areas. The goal of the expeditions was to provide comprehensive characterization of the physical environment. The volumes resulting from this work contain many large-scale hydrographic and topographic maps, photomosaics, glacier maps, and chapters on the geology, glacial history, botany, and hydrology of the region. Boyd received extensive publicity for her Arctic expeditions, although much of it was concerned with the novelty of expeditions to remote locations being led by a woman. Boyd’s expeditions employed scientists who eventually became highly influential in their respective fields. Boyd employed, among others, the earth scientists J.H. Bretz, R.F. Flint, and A.L. Washburn. Other important personnel on these expeditions included AGS cartographer/surveyor O.M. Miller and his assistant, W.A. Wood, who employed novel ground-based photogrammetric techniques to construct a series of glacier maps at scales as large as 1:5000. The maps featured detailed error analyses, and are probably the first large-scale maps of known accuracy to be made of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s outlet glaciers. Boyd

  15. Microbial community variation in cryoconite granules on Qaanaaq Glacier, NW Greenland.

    PubMed

    Uetake, Jun; Tanaka, Sota; Segawa, Takahiro; Takeuchi, Nozomu; Nagatsuka, Naoko; Motoyama, Hideaki; Aoki, Teruo

    2016-09-01

    Cryoconite granules are aggregations of microorganisms with mineral particles that form on glacier surfaces. To understand the processes by which the granules develop, this study focused on the altitudinal distribution of the granules and photosynthetic microorganisms on the glacier, bacterial community variation with granules size and environmental factors affecting the growth of the granules. Size-sorted cryoconite granules collected from five different sites on Qaanaaq Glacier were analyzed. C and N contents were significantly higher in large (diameter greater than 250 μm) granules than in smaller (diameter 30-249 μm) granules. Bacterial community structures, based on 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, were different between the smaller and larger granules. The filamentous cyanobacterium Phormidesmis priestleyi was the dominant bacterial species in larger granules. Multivariate analysis suggests that the abundance of mineral particles on the glacier surface is the main factor controlling growth of these cyanobacteria. These results show that the supply of mineral particles on the glacier enhances granule development, that P. priestleyi is likely the key species for primary production and the formation of the granules and that the bacterial community in the granules changes over the course of the granule development. PMID:27306554

  16. Ocean forcing of the Greenland Ice Sheet: Calving fronts and patterns of retreat identified by automatic satellite monitoring of eastern outlet glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seale, Anthony; Christoffersen, Poul; Mugford, Ruth I.; O'Leary, Martin

    2011-09-01

    We have developed an automatic method to identify changes in the position of calving glacier margins using daily MODIS imagery. Application of the method to 32 ocean-terminating glaciers in East Greenland produced 26,802 margin positions for a 10 year long period (2000-2009). We report these high-resolution data and show that the glaciers exhibit seasonal cycles with magnitudes of advance and retreat proportional to glacier width. Despite similar seasonality there is a distinct difference between the interannual trends of calving front positions north and south of 69°N. All glaciers above this latitude showed very limited or no change when seasonality was excluded, while glaciers south of 69°N retreated significantly between 2001 and 2005 (˜2.3 km on average). Approximately 26% of the retreat of southern glaciers was regained by readvance from 2005 to 2009. To explain the latitudinal boundary of glacier dynamics, we review basic climatic factors, including summer and winter atmospheric forcing, sea ice conditions, and ocean temperature. We conclude that the southern retreats were strongly influenced by warm oceanic conditions associated with increased transport of subtropical waters to the Irminger Sea and to fjords and coastal regions south of 69°N. Northern glaciers remained stable despite significant increase in runoff in this region because fjords at latitudes higher than 69°N are less exposed to subtropical waters. The southern retreats illustrate sensitive behavior of calving glaciers, and we hypothesize that the calving fronts retreated because they were exposed to rapid ice-front melting.

  17. Using Icebergs to Constrain Fjord Circulation and Link to Glacier Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sutherland, D.; Straneo, F.; Hamilton, G. S.; Stearns, L. A.; Roth, G.

    2014-12-01

    The importance of icebergs is increasingly being recognized in the ocean-glacier interactions community. Icebergs are ubiquitous in Greenland's outlet glacial fjords and provide a physical link between the glacier and the ocean into which they melt. The iceberg shape is influenced by glacier size and calving mechanics, while the amount of melt produced depends on ambient water properties and the residence time of the iceberg in the fjord. Here, we use hourly positions of icebergs tracked with helicopter deployed GPS sensors to calculate velocities in the Sermilik Fjord/Helheim Glacier system. Data comes from three summertime deployments in 2012-2014, where icebergs were tagged in the ice mélange and moved through the fjord and onto the continental shelf. The iceberg-derived velocities provide information on ice mélange movement, fjord variability, and coastal currents on the shelf. Using simple melt rate parameterizations, we estimate the total freshwater input due to iceberg melt in Sermilik Fjord based on the observed residence times and satellite-derived iceberg distributions. These observations complement conventional oceanographic and glaciological data, and can quickly, and relatively inexpensively, characterize circulation throughout any given glacier-ocean system.

  18. Observations of subtidal circulation variability in Sermilik Fjord, Greenland, and its impact on ice-ocean interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sutherland, D. A.; Stearns, L. A.; Hamilton, G. S.; Straneo, F.

    2010-12-01

    Helheim Glacier, located in southeast Greenland, is a large outlet glacier that drains approximately 10% of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS), emptying into Sermilik Fjord. The glacier speed and terminus location have both shown large variability over the past decade, with significant impacts on the freshwater and heat transport within the fjord, as well as on the mass balance of the GIS. Yet the cause for these changes is still debated. Here we present full year time series of velocity and hydrographic observations collected in Sermilik Fjord over 2009-2010, focusing on linking ice-ocean processes directly. The velocity data show that tidal circulation is small inside Sermilik Fjord, with the dominant variability at subtidal timescales. This allows for a more complete description of the fjord circulation than has been possible from inferring the flow from hydrography alone. We then relate the circulation in the fjord to processes directly related to the glacier, including the timing of calving events and iceberg drift. Map of Sermilik Fjord showing the location of field observations made in 2009-2010.

  19. Calculating Freshwater Input from Iceberg Melt in Greenlandic Fjords by Combining In Situ Observations of Iceberg Movement with High Resolution Satellite Imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sulak, D. J.; Sutherland, D.; Stearns, L. A.; Hamilton, G. S.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding fjord circulation in Greenland's outlet glacial fjords is crucial to explaining recent temporal and spatial variability in glacier dynamics, as well as freshwater transport on the continental shelf. The fjords are commonly assumed to exhibit a plume driven circulation that draws in warmer and saltier Atlantic-origin water toward the glacier at depth. Freshwater input at glacier termini directly drives this circulation and significantly influences water column stratification, which indirectly feeds back on the plume driven circulation. Previous work has focused on freshwater inputs from surface runoff and submarine melting, but the contribution from iceberg melt, a potentially important freshwater source, has not been quantified. Here, we develop a new technique combining in situ observations of movement from iceberg-mounted GPS units with multispectral satellite imagery from Landsat 8. The combination of datasets allows us to examine the details of iceberg movement and quantify mean residence times in a given fjord. We then use common melt rate parameterizations to estimate freshwater input for a given iceberg, utilizing novel satellite-derived iceberg distributions to scale up to a fjord-wide freshwater contribution. We apply this technique to Rink Isbræ and Kangerlussuup Sermia in west Greenland, and Helheim Glacier in southeast Greenland. The analysis can be rapidly expanded to look at other systems as well as seasonal and interannual changes in how icebergs affect the circulation and stratification of Greenland's outlet glacial fjords. Ultimately, this work will lead to a more complete understanding of the wide range of factors that control the observed regional variability in Greenland's glaciers.

  20. A high-resolution lake sediment record of glacier activity from SE Greenland defines abrupt Holocene cooling events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balascio, N. L.; Bradley, R. S.; D'Andrea, W. J.

    2013-12-01

    Orbital driven changes in high latitude summer insolation during the Holocene are responsible for the primary millennial-scale climate trends in the Arctic. Following deglaciation, maximum summer temperatures generally occurred during the early to mid-Holocene and declined through the late Holocene. Superimposed on this gradual cooling trend are centennial- and decadal-scale intervals that indicate more rapid perturbations of the arctic climate system. Highly resolved sedimentary records from terrestrial and marine sites help to better characterize climate system dynamics during the Holocene and investigate forcing and feedback mechanism that operate on different timescales. Reconstructing glacial activity can provide valuable paleoclimate information about trends in summer temperature and/or winter precipitation. Proglacial lakes contain sediment archives of meltwater input from glaciers and typically have high sedimentation rates preserving detailed information on glacial activity. However, interpreting proglacial sedimentary records can be difficult because 1) there may be significant input of sediment from non-glacial sources, 2) there is often a lack of organic material for radiocarbon dating, and 3) not all glaciers are sensitive to rapid climatic changes. Here we present a c. 10 cal ka BP record of glacier activity from Kulusuk Lake (65.6°N, 37.1°W; 202 m a.s.l.), a proglacial lake in southeast Greenland that is well constrained by radiocarbon dates and shows a clear signal of changes in glacial input throughout the Holocene. Kulusuk Lake is presently fed by meltwater from two cirque glaciers. It has a small catchment and no other significant source of sediment input. A 3.5 m sediment core contains distinct lithologic changes defined by grain size, magnetic susceptibility, organic content, and scanning XRF data. During the early Holocene, an overall decrease in meltwater input from 8.7-7.7 ka indicates the retreat of the glaciers in response to regional

  1. Quantifying the influence of refreezing melt water on the mass balance and runoff of Freya Glacier in Northeast-Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Resch, G.; Weyss, G.; Hynek, B.; Schöner, W.; Glade, T.

    2012-04-01

    Refreezing of melt water is known to play an important role in both the mass and energy budgets of Arctic glaciers as internal accumulation leads to a systematic error in mass balance calculation if it is not accounted for. A variety of measurements with the aim of quantification of refreezing of melt water have been done in August 2011 on Freya Glacier, 6 km long valley glacier situated on Clavering Island, 10 km southwest of the Zackenberg research station (ZERO), situated on the northeast coast of Greenland. Its surface area is 6,6km2, reaching from 330 m to 1250 m a.s.l. and is mainly oriented to NW. Since 2007, the mass balance of Freya-Glacier is measured directly, using around 15 stakes, which represents a unique database in this area. Besides surface mass balance, firn and ice stratigraphy in shallow cores and with GPR, also discharge measurements have been done. Thermistor strings have been drilled into the ice and mounted on poles for continuous data collection of ice- and snow temperatures during the winter season. Furthermore, an AWS near the ELA has been set-up for measuring all terms needed for energy balance calculations. Shallow ice cores (2m) and snow pits serve as point information in combination with data collected by a 900Mhz GPR-profile along the flow line and the SI-zone to identify annual SI-Layers. Mapping of the retreat of the snowline with GPS, frequent reading of the ablation stakes and snow depth in combination with discharge measurements have been carried out through the ablation season, to get information about meltwater retention on a basinscale. These data serve as input for a thermodynamic, physical based mass-balance and runoff model to investigate melt water retention and water balance on a basin scale. In this poster we present first results of data analysis, especially on bias and variability between discharge measurements and stake-based mass balance calculations. Besides that, a comparison between these measurements and data

  2. Are seasonal calving dynamics forced by buttressing from ice mélange or undercutting by melting? Outcomes from full-Stokes simulations of Store Glacier, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Todd, J.; Christoffersen, P.

    2014-12-01

    We use a full-Stokes 2-D model (Elmer/Ice) to investigate the flow and calving dynamics of Store Glacier, a fast-flowing outlet glacier in West Greenland. Based on a new, subgrid-scale implementation of the crevasse depth calving criterion, we perform two sets of simulations: one to identify the primary forcing mechanisms and another to constrain future stability. We find that the mixture of icebergs and sea ice, known as ice mélange or sikussak, is principally responsible for the observed seasonal advance of the ice front. On the other hand, the effect of submarine melting on the calving rate of Store Glacier appears to be limited. Sensitivity analysis demonstrates that the glacier's calving dynamics are sensitive to seasonal perturbation, but are stable on interannual timescales due to the strong topographic control on the flow regime. Our results shed light on the dynamics of calving glaciers and may help explain why neighbouring glaciers do not necessarily respond synchronously to changes in atmospheric and oceanic forcing.

  3. Controls on Greenland Ice Sheet Runoff from a Land Terminating Glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rennermalm, A. K.; Smith, L. C.; Chu, V. W.; Forster, R. R.; Hagedorn, B.; Box, J. E.; van den Broeke, M. R.

    2011-12-01

    Modeling studies show that ice sheet mass loss in the form of meltwater runoff constitutes a large fraction of the total mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet. However, the controls on Greenland ice sheet runoff to the ocean are not well understood in part because few direct observations of ice sheet meteorological conditions and meltwater runoff in rivers draining the ice sheet are available to constrain model development. Here, analysis and modeling using such observational data were carried out. West-central Greenland's ice sheet margin near Kangerlussuaq was monitored between 2008 - 2010, yielding data from two automatic weather stations on the ice sheet, and three pro-glacial riverine discharge stations. These data were used to construct regression models to separate influences from fast flowing supra glacial meltwater runoff, and delayed runoff from meltwater releases from en- and pro-glacial storages. These models show that supra glacial runoff explains the majority of meltwater runoff, with en- and pro-glacial storages also significant and less predictable. Finally, a simple extrapolation model confirms that most meltwater runoff originates from the ice sheet margin, with only a small amount released from the ice sheet interior.

  4. Investigating the dynamics of deglaciation in coastal areas of southeast Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dyke, Laurence M.; Hughes, Anna L. C.; Andresen, Camilla S.; Murray, Tavi; Hiemstra, John F.; Rodés, Ángel

    2016-04-01

    passive areas appears to have occurred later than in the major fjord systems; this suggests that ice dynamic processes were a key driver of deglaciation in SE Greenland. References: Hughes, A. L. C.; Rainsley, E.; Murray, T.; Fogwill, C. J.; Schnabel, C., Xu, S., 2012. Rapid response of Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland, to early Holocene climate warming. Geology 40, 427-430.

  5. The Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment (SAFIRE): 1. Borehole-based englacial and subglacial measurements from a rapidly-moving tidewater glacier: Store Glacier, Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, Bryn; Doyle, Samuel; Christoffersen, Poul; Young, Tun Jan; Hofstede, Coen; Hubbard, Alun; Box, Jason; Todd, Joe; Bougamont, Marion

    2016-04-01

    As part of the Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment (SAFIRE) pressurised hot water was used to drill four 603-616 m-long boreholes to the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet at a site located 30 km from the calving front of fast-flowing, marine-terminating Store Glacier (70 degrees N, ~1000 m elevation). Four wired sensor strings were successfully installed in three of the boreholes. These included a thermistor string to obtain the englacial temperature profile installed in the same borehole as a string of tilt sensors to measure borehole deformation, and two sets of combined water pressure, electrical conductivity and turbidity sensors installed just above the bed in separate, adjacent boreholes. The boreholes made a strong hydrological connection to the bed during drilling, draining rapidly to ~80 m below the ice surface. The connection of subsequent boreholes was observed as a perturbation in water pressure and temperature recorded in neighbouring boreholes, indicating an effective hydrological connection between them. The sensors, which were wired to data-loggers at the surface, operated for between ~30 and >80 days from late summer into autumn before the cables stretched and snapped, with the lowermost sensors failing first. The records obtained from these sensors reveal (i) subglacial water pressures that were close to overburden but which generally increased through the period of measurement and varied diurnally by ~0.3 m, (ii) a minimum englacial temperature of -21 degrees C underlain by a zone of temperate ice, some tens of m thick, located immediately above the bed, and (iii) high rates of internal deformation and strain that increased towards the bed. These borehole observations are complemented by GPS measurements of ice motion, meteorological data, and seismic and radar surveys.

  6. Investigating the Cause of the 2012 Acceleration of Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland Using High Resolution Observations of the Glacier Terminus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassotto, R.; Fahnestock, M. A.; Boettcher, M. S.; Amundson, J. M.; Truffer, M.

    2014-12-01

    After decades of relative stability, Jakobshavn Isbræ, a tidewater glacier in West Greenland, started to destabilize at the turn of the century. The glacier thinned, the perennial tongue disintegrated, velocities doubled, and the terminus retreated. The glacier evolved over the next several years as it showed large seasonal variations in speed and a progressive kilometer-scale retreat of its calving front. Then, during the 2012 summer, Jakobshavn set a new record when its speed increased to rates more than four times the 1990s values, and consequently became the fastest glacier recorded by satellite yet. A 2-week field study was conducted along the terminus at that time; ground portable radar interferometers (GPRI), time-lapse cameras, GPS, and a tide gauge were deployed to characterize glacier dynamics along the ice-ocean boundary. We use >10,000 interferograms recorded with the terrestrial interferometers to probe the cause of this acceleration. We observe a 33% increase in glacier speed and a 250% increase in the amplitude of response to tidal forcing during our study period. We explore how the location of the terminus along the reverse bed slope contributed to the observed speedup, and we compare our findings with the long-term record of satellite observations. Our data show that understanding tidewater glacier dynamics requires knowledge of short-term variations along glacier termini that is currently not available from satellites. This study provides insight into such short-term dynamics on spatial scales comparable to satellite InSAR but with temporal resolution similar to GPS.

  7. Geomicrobiology of subglacial meltwater samples from Store Landgletscher and Russell Glacier, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cameron, K. A.; Dieser, M.; Choquette, K.; Christner, B. C.; Hagedorn, B.; Harrold, Z.; Liu, L.; Sletten, R. S.; Junge, K.

    2012-12-01

    The melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet provides direct connections between atmospheric, supraglacial and subglacial environments. The intraglacial hydrological pathways that result are believed to accommodate the microbial colonization of subglacial environments; however, little is known about the abundance, diversity and activity of microorganisms within these niches. The Greenland Ice Sheet (1.7 million square kilometers) and its associated surpaglacial and subglacial ecosystems may contribute significantly to biogeochemical cycling processes. We analyzed subglacial microbial assemblages in subglacial outflows, near Thule and Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland. The investigative approach included correlating microbial diversity, inferred function, abundance, melt water chemistry, O-18 water isotope ratios, alkalinity and sediment load. Using Illumina sequencing, bacterial small subunit ribosomal RNA hypervariable regions have been targeted and amplified from both extracted DNA and reverse transcribed rRNA. Over 3 billion sequence reads have been generated to create a comprehensive diversity profile. Total abundances ranged from 2.24E+04 to 1.58E+06 cells mL-1. In comparison, the total abundance of supraglacial early season snow samples ranged from 3.35E+02 to 2.8E+04 cells mL-1. 65 % of samples incubated with cyano ditoyl tetrazolium chloride (CTC), used to identify actively respiring cells, contained CTC-positive cells. On average, these cells represented 1.9 % of the estimated total abundance (1.86E+02 to 2.19E+03 CTC positive cells mL-1; 1.39E+03 cells mL-1 standard deviation); comparative to those measured in temperate freshwater lakes. The overarching objective of our research is to provide data that indicates the role of microbial communities, associated with ice sheets, in elemental cycling and in the release of biomass and nutrients to the surrounding marine biome.

  8. Sheet, stream, and shelf flow as progressive ice-bed uncoupling: Byrd Glacier, Antarctica, and Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, T.; Sargent, A.; Fastook, J.; Purdon, K.; Li, J.; Yan, J.-B.; Gogineni, S.

    2015-08-01

    The first-order control of ice thickness and height above sea level is linked to the decreasing strength of ice-bed coupling alone flowlines from an interior ice divide to the calving front of an ice shelf. Uncoupling progresses as a frozen bed progressively thaws for sheet flow, as a thawed bed is progressively drowned for stream flow, and as lateral and/or local grounding vanish for shelf flow. This can reduce ice thicknesses by 90 % and ice elevations by 99 % along flowlines. Original work presented here includes (1) replacing flow and sliding laws for sheet flow with upper and lower yield stresses for creep in cold overlying ice and basal ice sliding over deforming till, respectively, (2) replacing integrating the Navier-Stokes equations for stream flow with geometrical solutions to the force balance, and (3) including resistance to shelf flow caused by lateral confinement in a fjord and local grounding at ice rumples and ice rises. A comparison is made between our approach and two approaches based on continuum mechanics. Applications are made to Byrd Glacier in Antarctica and Jakobshavn Isbrae in Greenland.

  9. Sheet, stream, and shelf flow as progressive ice-bed uncoupling: Byrd Glacier, Antarctica and Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, T.; Sargent, A.; Fastook, J.; Purdon, K.; Li, J.; Yan, J.-B.; Gogineni, S.

    2016-01-01

    The first-order control of ice thickness and height above sea level is linked to the decreasing strength of ice-bed coupling along flowlines from an interior ice divide to the calving front of an ice shelf. Uncoupling progresses as a frozen bed progressively thaws for sheet flow, as a thawed bed is progressively drowned for stream flow, and as lateral and/or local grounding vanish for shelf flow. This can reduce ice thicknesses by 90 % and ice elevations by 99 % along flowlines. Original work presented here includes (1) replacing flow and sliding laws for sheet flow with upper and lower yield stresses for creep in cold overlying ice and basal ice sliding over deforming till, respectively, (2) replacing integrating the Navier-Stokes equations for stream flow with geometrical solutions to the force balance, and (3) including resistance to shelf flow caused by lateral confinement in a fjord and local grounding at ice rumples and ice rises. A comparison is made between our approach and two approaches based on continuum mechanics. Applications are made to Byrd Glacier in Antarctica and Jakobshavn Isbrae in Greenland.

  10. Phylogenetic Analysis of Anaerobic Psychrophilic Enrichment Cultures Obtained from a Greenland Glacier Ice Core

    PubMed Central

    Sheridan, Peter P.; Miteva, Vanya I.; Brenchley, Jean E.

    2003-01-01

    The examination of microorganisms in glacial ice cores allows the phylogenetic relationships of organisms frozen for thousands of years to be compared with those of current isolates. We developed a method for aseptically sampling a sediment-containing portion of a Greenland ice core that had remained at −9°C for over 100,000 years. Epifluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry results showed that the ice sample contained over 6 × 107 cells/ml. Anaerobic enrichment cultures inoculated with melted ice were grown and maintained at −2°C. Genomic DNA extracted from these enrichments was used for the PCR amplification of 16S rRNA genes with bacterial and archaeal primers and the preparation of clone libraries. Approximately 60 bacterial inserts were screened by restriction endonuclease analysis and grouped into 27 unique restriction fragment length polymorphism types, and 24 representative sequences were compared phylogenetically. Diverse sequences representing major phylogenetic groups including alpha, beta, and gamma Proteobacteria as well as relatives of the Thermus, Bacteroides, Eubacterium, and Clostridium groups were found. Sixteen clone sequences were closely related to those from known organisms, with four possibly representing new species. Seven sequences may reflect new genera and were most closely related to sequences obtained only by PCR amplification. One sequence was over 12% distant from its closest relative and may represent a novel order or family. These results show that phylogenetically diverse microorganisms have remained viable within the Greenland ice core for at least 100,000 years. PMID:12676695

  11. Phylogenetic analysis of anaerobic psychrophilic enrichment cultures obtained from a greenland glacier ice core

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sheridan, Peter P.; Miteva, Vanya I.; Brenchley, Jean E.

    2003-01-01

    The examination of microorganisms in glacial ice cores allows the phylogenetic relationships of organisms frozen for thousands of years to be compared with those of current isolates. We developed a method for aseptically sampling a sediment-containing portion of a Greenland ice core that had remained at -9 degrees C for over 100,000 years. Epifluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry results showed that the ice sample contained over 6 x 10(7) cells/ml. Anaerobic enrichment cultures inoculated with melted ice were grown and maintained at -2 degrees C. Genomic DNA extracted from these enrichments was used for the PCR amplification of 16S rRNA genes with bacterial and archaeal primers and the preparation of clone libraries. Approximately 60 bacterial inserts were screened by restriction endonuclease analysis and grouped into 27 unique restriction fragment length polymorphism types, and 24 representative sequences were compared phylogenetically. Diverse sequences representing major phylogenetic groups including alpha, beta, and gamma Proteobacteria as well as relatives of the Thermus, Bacteroides, Eubacterium, and Clostridium groups were found. Sixteen clone sequences were closely related to those from known organisms, with four possibly representing new species. Seven sequences may reflect new genera and were most closely related to sequences obtained only by PCR amplification. One sequence was over 12% distant from its closest relative and may represent a novel order or family. These results show that phylogenetically diverse microorganisms have remained viable within the Greenland ice core for at least 100,000 years.

  12. Fluctuations of a Greenlandic tidewater glacier driven by changes in atmospheric forcing: observations and modelling of Kangiata Nunaata Sermia, 1859-present

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lea, J. M.; Mair, D. W. F.; Nick, F. M.; Rea, B. R.; van As, D.; Morlighem, M.; Nienow, P. W.; Weidick, A.

    2014-11-01

    Many tidewater glaciers in Greenland are known to have undergone significant retreat during the last century following their Little Ice Age maxima. Where it is possible to reconstruct glacier change over this period, they provide excellent records for comparison to climate records, as well as calibration/validation for numerical models. These glacier change records therefore allow for tests of numerical models that seek to simulate tidewater glacier behaviour over multi-decadal to centennial timescales. Here we present a detailed record of behaviour from Kangiata Nunaata Sermia (KNS), SW Greenland, between 1859 and 2012, and compare it against available oceanographic and atmospheric temperature data between 1871 and 2012. We also use these records to evaluate the ability of a well-established one-dimensional flow-band model to replicate behaviour for the observation period. The record of terminus change demonstrates that KNS has advanced/retreated in phase with atmosphere and ocean climate anomalies averaged over multi-annual to decadal timescales. Results from an ensemble of model runs demonstrate that observed dynamics can be replicated. Model runs that provide a reasonable match to observations always require a significant atmospheric forcing component, but do not necessarily require an oceanic forcing component. Although the importance of oceanic forcing cannot be discounted, these results demonstrate that changes in atmospheric forcing are likely to be a primary driver of the terminus fluctuations of KNS from 1859 to 2012. We propose that the detail and length of the record presented makes KNS an ideal site for model validation exercises investigating links between climate, calving rates, and tidewater glacier dynamics.

  13. Ice marginal dynamics during surge activity, Kuannersuit Glacier, Disko Island, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberts, David H.; Yde, Jacob C.; Knudsen, N. Tvis; Long, Antony J.; Lloyd, Jerry M.

    2009-02-01

    The Kuannersuit Glacier surged 11 km between 1995 and 1998. The surge resulted in the formation of an ice cored thrust moraine complex constructed by subglacial and proglacial glaciotectonic processes. Four main thrust zones are evident in the glacier snout area with phases of compressional folding and thrusting followed by hydrofracture in response to the build-up of compressional stresses and the aquicludal nature of submarginal permafrost and naled. Various types of stratified debris-rich ice facies occur within the marginal zone: The first (Facies I) comprises laterally continuous strata of ice with sorted sediment accumulations, and is reworked and thrust naled ice. The second is laterally discontinuous stratified debris-rich ice with distinct tectonic structures, and is derived through subglacial extensional deformation and localised regelation (Facies II), whilst the third type is characterised by reworked and brecciated ice associated with the reworking and entrainment of meteoric ice (Facies III). Hydrofracture dykes and sills (Facies IV) cross-cut the marginal ice cored thrust moraines, with their sub-vertically frozen internal contact boundaries and sedimentary structures, suggesting supercooling operated as high-pressure evacuation of water occurred during thrusting, but this is not related to the formation of basal stratified debris-rich ice. Linear distributions of sorted fines transverse to ice flow, and small stratified sediment ridges that vertically cross-cut the ice surface up-ice of the thrust zone relate to sediment migration along crevasse traces and fluvial infilling of crevasses. From a palaeoglaciological viewpoint, marginal glacier tectonics, ice sediment content and sediment delivery mechanisms combine to control the development of this polythermal surge valley landsystem. The bulldozing of proglacial sediments and the folding and thrusting of naled leads to the initial development of the outer zone of the moraine complex. This becomes

  14. Characterising fjord circulation patterns and ice flux from time-lapse imagery at Sermilik Fjord, southeast Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    James, T.; Drocourt, Y. J. R.; Ayoub, F.; Murray, T.; Hughes, A. L. C.

    2014-12-01

    Evidence suggests that the synchronous acceleration and thinning in the early 2000s of Greenland's southeast glaciers were triggered by increased submarine melting. This important control on the region's mass balance is influenced by changes in the strength of coastal currents, which are also believed to be the cause of the subsequent slowdown of the mid-2000s. While warming of the subpolar North Atlantic and increased runoff are blamed for the enhanced submarine melting at the glacier margins, the physical processes that connect them remain largely unknown. Our lack of understanding of coastal currents and associated fluxes is due largely to a lack of observations of a complex system. Typically, data in these regions, if available at all, consist of point measurements at sparse moorings or 2D profiles of a snapshot in time. Here we present a methodology using monoscopic time-lapse imagery to characterise fjord circulation at the mouth of Sermillik Fjord near Helheim Glacier in southeast Greenland. Image resection methods are used to assign a 3D coordinate system to the 6-minute time-lapse images and the movement of icebergs and sea ice are mapped using feature tracking. Along with local wind data, these results will provide much needed information about the patterns of circulation at the fjord's mouth on the surface and at depth, ice fluxes and the influence of wind.

  15. Detection and Isolation of Ultrasmall Microorganisms from a 120,000-Year-Old Greenland Glacier Ice Core

    PubMed Central

    Miteva, Vanya I.; Brenchley, Jean E.

    2005-01-01

    The abundant microbial population in a 3,043-m-deep Greenland glacier ice core was dominated by ultrasmall cells (<0.1 μm3) that may represent intrinsically small organisms or starved, minute forms of normal-sized microbes. In order to examine their diversity and obtain isolates, we enriched for ultrasmall psychrophiles by filtering melted ice through filters with different pore sizes, inoculating anaerobic low-nutrient liquid media, and performing successive rounds of filtrations and recultivations at 5°C. Melted ice filtrates, cultures, and isolates were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy, flow cytometry, cultivation, and molecular methods. The results confirmed that numerous cells passed through 0.4-μm, 0.2-μm, and even 0.1-μm filters. Interestingly, filtration increased cell culturability from the melted ice, yielding many isolates related to high-G+C gram-positive bacteria. Comparisons between parallel filtered and nonfiltered cultures showed that (i) the proportion of 0.2-μm-filterable cells was higher in the filtered cultures after short incubations but this difference diminished after several months, (ii) more isolates were obtained from filtered (1,290 isolates) than from nonfiltered (447 isolates) cultures, and (iii) the filtration and liquid medium cultivation increased isolate diversity (Proteobacteria; Cytophaga-Flavobacteria-Bacteroides; high-G+C gram-positive; and spore-forming, low-G+C gram-positive bacteria). Many isolates maintained their small cell sizes after recultivation and were phylogenetically novel or related to other ultramicrobacteria. Our filtration-cultivation procedure, combined with long incubations, enriched for novel ultrasmall-cell isolates, which is useful for studies of their metabolic properties and mechanisms for long-term survival under extreme conditions. PMID:16332755

  16. Changing tidewater glacier extent and response to climate from Little Ice Age to present: observations and modelling of Kangiata Nunaata Sermia, SW Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mair, D.; Lea, J. M.; Nick, F. M.; Rea, B. R.; Nienow, P. W.

    2013-12-01

    Records of Greenlandic tidewater glacier (TWG) change are primarily restricted to the period covered by satellite observation. This study extends the record of terminus change of the tidewater outlet glacier Kangiata Nunaata Sermia (KNS), SW Greenland to its Little Ice Age maximum (LIAmax). This is achieved using a combination of geomorphology, written observations, and historical and satellite imagery. We explore likely marine and atmospheric controls on terminus change by comparison with existing records of local air and ocean temperatures and, for earlier periods, by modelling glacier response to systematic changes in marine and oceanic forcings at the terminus. Results from the glacier reconstruction show that retreat began in the late 18th century, with the terminus retreating at least 12 km from its LIAmax by 1859. KNS then experienced a period of relative stability before advancing to its 20th century maximum by ~1920. Significant retreat occurred from 1921-1965, before periods of advance and retreat up until 1997. Subsequent to this, KNS has retreated by 2 km up to the end of the 2012 melt season. The LIAmax to present retreat of KNS totals 22.6 km. Comparison of terminus fluctuations to local air temperature (1866-present) and sea surface temperature (1870-present) anomalies demonstrate that air temperature exerts a significant modulating control on terminus stability for the duration of the record. A state-of-the-art 1-dimensional flow-band model driven by submarine melt (SM) and crevasse water depth (CWD; Nick et al, 2010) is capable of reconstructing observed terminus fluctuations during earlier periods for realistic values of SM using a range of CWD. This provides confidence that such models are capable of predicting TWG terminus variability over centennial timescales.

  17. Phylogenetic and physiological diversity of microorganisms isolated from a deep greenland glacier ice core

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miteva, V. I.; Sheridan, P. P.; Brenchley, J. E.

    2004-01-01

    We studied a sample from the GISP 2 (Greenland Ice Sheet Project) ice core to determine the diversity and survival of microorganisms trapped in the ice at least 120,000 years ago. Previously, we examined the phylogenetic relationships among 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences in a clone library obtained by PCR amplification from genomic DNA extracted from anaerobic enrichments. Here we report the isolation of nearly 800 aerobic organisms that were grouped by morphology and amplified rDNA restriction analysis patterns to select isolates for further study. The phylogenetic analyses of 56 representative rDNA sequences showed that the isolates belonged to four major phylogenetic groups: the high-G+C gram-positives, low-G+C gram-positives, Proteobacteria, and the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides group. The most abundant and diverse isolates were within the high-G+C gram-positive cluster that had not been represented in the clone library. The Jukes-Cantor evolutionary distance matrix results suggested that at least 7 isolates represent new species within characterized genera and that 49 are different strains of known species. The isolates were further categorized based on the isolation conditions, temperature range for growth, enzyme activity, antibiotic resistance, presence of plasmids, and strain-specific genomic variations. A significant observation with implications for the development of novel and more effective cultivation methods was that preliminary incubation in anaerobic and aerobic liquid prior to plating on agar media greatly increased the recovery of CFU from the ice core sample.

  18. Phylogenetic and Physiological Diversity of Microorganisms Isolated from a Deep Greenland Glacier Ice Core

    PubMed Central

    Miteva, V. I.; Sheridan, P. P.; Brenchley, J. E.

    2004-01-01

    We studied a sample from the GISP 2 (Greenland Ice Sheet Project) ice core to determine the diversity and survival of microorganisms trapped in the ice at least 120,000 years ago. Previously, we examined the phylogenetic relationships among 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences in a clone library obtained by PCR amplification from genomic DNA extracted from anaerobic enrichments. Here we report the isolation of nearly 800 aerobic organisms that were grouped by morphology and amplified rDNA restriction analysis patterns to select isolates for further study. The phylogenetic analyses of 56 representative rDNA sequences showed that the isolates belonged to four major phylogenetic groups: the high-G+C gram-positives, low-G+C gram-positives, Proteobacteria, and the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides group. The most abundant and diverse isolates were within the high-G+C gram-positive cluster that had not been represented in the clone library. The Jukes-Cantor evolutionary distance matrix results suggested that at least 7 isolates represent new species within characterized genera and that 49 are different strains of known species. The isolates were further categorized based on the isolation conditions, temperature range for growth, enzyme activity, antibiotic resistance, presence of plasmids, and strain-specific genomic variations. A significant observation with implications for the development of novel and more effective cultivation methods was that preliminary incubation in anaerobic and aerobic liquid prior to plating on agar media greatly increased the recovery of CFU from the ice core sample. PMID:14711643

  19. Greenland Ice Sheet Mass Balance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reeh, N.

    1984-01-01

    Mass balance equation for glaciers; areal distribution and ice volumes; estimates of actual mass balance; loss by calving of icebergs; hydrological budget for Greenland; and temporal variations of Greenland mass balance are examined.

  20. Flying Low over Southeast Greenland

    NASA Video Gallery

    Few of us ever get to see Greenland's glaciers from 500 meters above the ice. But in this video — recorded on April 9,2013 in southeast Greenland using a cockpit camera installed and operated by ...

  1. The Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment (SAFIRE): 2. High magnitude englacial strain detected with autonomous phase-sensitive FMCW radar on Store Glacier, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, Tun Jan; Christoffersen, Poul; Nicholls, Keith; Bun Lok, Lai; Doyle, Samuel; Hubbard, Bryn; Stewart, Craig; Hofstede, Coen; Bougamont, Marion; Todd, Joseph; Brennan, Paul; Hubbard, Alun

    2016-04-01

    Fast-flowing outlet glaciers terminating in the sea drain 90% of the Greenland Ice Sheet. It is well-known that these glaciers flow rapidly due to fast basal motion, but its contributing processes and mechanisms are, however, poorly understood. In particular, there is a paucity of data to quantify the extent to which basal sliding and internal ice deformation by viscous creep contribute to the fast motion of Greenland outlet glaciers. To study these processes, we installed a network of global positioning system (GPS) receivers around an autonomous phase-sensitive radio-echo sounder (ApRES) capable of imaging internal reflectors and the glacier bed. The ApRES system, including antennas, were custom-designed to monitor and image ice sheets and ice shelves in monostatic and multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) modes. Specifically, the system transmits a frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) that increases linearly from 200 to 400 MHz over a period of 1 second. We installed this system 30 km up-flow of the tidewater terminus of Store Glacier, which flows into Uummannaq Fjord in West Greenland, and data were recorded every hour from 06 May to 16 July 2014 and every 4 hours from 26 July to 11 December 2014. The same site was used to instrument 600 m deep boreholes drilled to the bed as part of the SAFIRE research programme. With range and reflector distances captured at high temporal (hourly) and spatial (millimetre) resolutions, we obtained a unique, 6-month-long time series of strain through the vertical ice column at the drill site where tilt was independently recorded in a borehole. Our results show variable, but persistently high vertical strain. In the upper three-fourths of the ice column, we have calculated strain rates on the order of a few percent per year, and the strain regime curiously shifts from vertical thinning in winter to vertical thickening at the onset of summer melt. In the basal ice layer we observed high-magnitude vertical strain rates on

  2. Identifying weathering sources and processes in an outlet glacier of the Greenland Ice Sheet using Ca and Sr isotope ratios

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hindshaw, Ruth S.; Rickli, Jörg; Leuthold, Julien; Wadham, Jemma; Bourdon, Bernard

    2014-11-01

    Chemical and isotope data (ε40Ca, δ44/42Ca, 87Sr/86Sr, δ18O) of river water samples were collected twice daily for 28 days in 2009 from the outlet river of Leverett Glacier, West Greenland. The water chemistry data was combined with detailed geochemical analysis and petrography of bulk rock, mineral separates and sediment samples in order to constrain the mineral weathering sources to the river. The average isotopic compositions measured in the river, with 2SD of all the values measured, were ε40Ca = +4.0 ± 1.4, δ44/42Ca = +0.60 ± 0.10‰ and 87Sr/86Sr = 0.74243 ± 0.00327. Based on changes in bulk meltwater discharge, the hydrochemical data was divided into three hydrological periods. The first period was marked by the tail-end of an outburst event and was characterised by water with decreasing suspended sediment concentrations (SSC), ion concentrations and pH. During the second hydrological period, discharge increased whilst 87Sr/86Sr decreased from 0.74550 to 0.74164. Based on binary mixing diagrams using 87Sr/86Sr with Na/Sr, Ca/Sr and ε40Ca, this is interpreted to reflect an increase in reactive mineral weathering, in particular epidote, as the water residence time decreases. The decrease in water residence time is a result of the evolution from a distributed (long water residence time) to a channelised (short water residence time) subglacial drainage network. The third hydrological period was defined as the period when overall discharge was decreasing. This hydrological period was marked by prominent diurnal cycles in discharge. During this period, significant correlations between δ44/42Ca and SSC and δ18O were observed which are suggestive of fractionation during adsorption. This study demonstrates the potential of radiogenic Ca to both identify temporally changing mineral sources in conjunction with 87Sr/86Sr values and to separate source and fractionation effects in δ44/42Ca values.

  3. Seasonal speed-up of large Greenland marine-terminating outlet glacier related to surface melt-induced changes in subglacial hydrology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mair, D.; Sole, A.; Nienow, P. W.; Bartholomew, I. D.

    2010-12-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) has experienced increased rates of mass loss over the last decade due to increased surface melt and runoff and accelerated ice discharge. Two principal links between climate and ice discharge have been proposed. The first suggests that changes at the calving front of marine-terminating glaciers reduce resistive forces resulting in glacier acceleration and thinning or ‘draw-down’, while the second postulates that increased surface melt reaches the ice sheet bed locally and causes enhanced basal sliding, again leading to draw-down. Marine-terminating GrIS outlet glaciers generally display less sensitivity to variations in surface meltwater availability. Seasonal velocity variations have previously been explained by variations in calving rates due to the break up of the seasonal ice mélange or the ungrounding of ice near the terminus. Here we present sub-daily GPS ice velocity, surface lowering and air temperature measurements spanning the 2009 melt season along a flow line of Kangiata Nunata Sermia (KNS), the largest marine-terminating outlet glacier in South West Greenland. Surface velocity was measured at four GPS sites located 32-76 km from the calving front. A timelapse camera was installed with a field of view encompassing the calving terminus of KNS. The seasonal growth and drainage of supra-glacial lakes within the catchment was identified from MODIS imagery. The GPS data show multiple 2- to 12- day speed up events, often coincident with surface uplift, superimposed on a period of generally elevated velocity lasting 2 to 3 months. Reductions in lake volume were coincident with speed-up events at the nearby GPS sites providing strong evidence that these lakes drained to the glacier bed. These large volumes of meltwater were interpreted to be input to an inefficient, distributed drainage system creating episodes of high subglacial water pressure, hydraulic jacking and enhanced basal sliding. We conclude that between 36 km and

  4. The Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment (SAFIRE): 3. Englacial and subglacial conditions revealed by seismic reflection data on Store Glacier, West Greenland.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofstede, Coen; Eisen, Olaf; Young, Tun Jan; Doyle, Samuel; Hubbard, Bryn; Christoffersen, Poul; Hubbard, Alun

    2015-04-01

    Basal conditions have a profound influence on the dynamics of outlet glaciers. As part of the SAFIRE research programme, we carried out a seismic survey on Store Glacier, a tidewater glacier terminating in Uummanaq Fjord in West Greenland (see joint abstracts by Christoffersen et al. and Doyle et al. for details). At the survey site the ice moves 700m/a making the terrain crevassed and bumpy. Despite the rough terrain we collected two 1.5 km long survey lines parallel and perpendicular to the ice flow direction using a 300m snow streamer and explosives as a source. The seismic data reveal an ice thickness of about 620m and 20 to 30m of subglacial sediment on the upstream side of the area thinning in the downstream direction. From polarity reversals seen along the ice-bed contact we speculate that the sediments have varying degrees of water content. The ice itself has several englacial reflections parallel and close to the bed. At approximately 475m depth, a clear single englacial reflection is observed in the parallel survey line. Thermistor data installed at this location show a clear increase in ice temperature starting at this depth. We speculate that the observed englacial reflection is caused by a change in crystal orientation fabric allowing greater ice deformation below this depth causing increased strain heating.

  5. Effect on polar motion by mass redistribution and elastic unloading associated with recent vast ice reduction in Greenland, Antarctica and other mountain glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Na, S.

    2013-12-01

    While polar motion is mainly consisted of two circular motions (annual and Chandler), the mean position of the pole approximately coincides with the principal axis of the Earth. Polar wander, which is slow drift of the mean pole, was observed as (1) W 64 by 12 cm/yr during the last fifty years (1962 - present) and (2) W 59 by 8.1 cm/yr during the last thirty years (1981 - present). To investigate the possibility for this recent polar wander pattern change to be caused by the ice reduction in Greenland or other places, we suggest an ideal model, which relates glacier reduction to Earth's principal axes change. We give further comparison and discussion. Polar motion components xp and yp with their least square fit lines (since 1962 or 1981). Corresponding pole drift traces (since 1962 and 1981)

  6. Warming of waters in an East Greenland fjord prior to glacier retreat: mechanisms and connection to large-scale atmospheric conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christoffersen, P.; Mugford, R. I.; Heywood, K. J.; Joughin, I.; Dowdeswell, J. A.; Syvitski, J. P. M.; Luckman, A.; Benham, T. J.

    2011-05-01

    Hydrographic data acquired in Kangerlugssuaq Fjord and adjacent seas in 1993 and 2004 are used together with ocean reanalysis to elucidate water mass change and ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions in East Greenland. The hydrographic data show substantial warming of fjord waters between 1993 and 2004 and warm subsurface conditions coincide with the rapid retreat of Kangerlugssuaq Glacier in 2004-2005. The ocean reanalysis shows that the warm properties of fjord waters in 2004 are related to a major peak in oceanic shoreward heat flux into a cross-shelf trough on the outer continental shelf. The heat flux into this trough varies according to seasonal exchanges with the atmosphere as well as from deep seasonal intrusions of subtropical waters. Both mechanisms contribute to high (low) shoreward heat flux when winds from the northeast are weak (strong). The combined effect of surface heating and inflow of subtropical waters is seen in the hydrographic data, which were collected after periods when along-shore coastal winds from the north were strong (1993) and weak (2004). We show that coastal winds vary according to the pressure gradient defined by a semi-permanent atmospheric pressure system over Greenland and a persistent atmospheric low situated near Iceland. The magnitude of this pressure gradient is controlled by longitudinal variability in the position of the Icelandic Low.

  7. Warming of waters in an East Greenland fjord prior to glacier retreat: mechanisms and connection to large-scale atmospheric conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christoffersen, P.; Mugford, R. I.; Heywood, K. J.; Joughin, I.; Dowdeswell, J. A.; Syvitski, J. P. M.; Luckman, A.; Benham, T. J.

    2011-09-01

    Hydrographic data acquired in Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord and adjacent seas in 1993 and 2004 are used together with reanalysis from the NEMO ocean modelling framework to elucidate water-mass change and ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions in East Greenland. The hydrographic data show that the fjord contains warm subtropical waters and that fjord waters in 2004 were considerably warmer than in 1993. The ocean reanalysis shows that the warm properties of fjord waters in 2004 are related to a major peak in oceanic shoreward heat flux into a cross-shelf trough on the outer continental shelf. The heat flux into this trough varies according to seasonal exchanges with the atmosphere as well as from deep seasonal intrusions of subtropical waters. Both mechanisms contribute to high (low) shoreward heat flux when winds from the northeast are weak (strong). The combined effect of surface heating and inflow of subtropical waters is seen in the hydrographic data, which were collected after periods when along-shore coastal winds from the north were strong (1993) and weak (2004). The latter data were furthermore acquired during the early phase of a prolonged retreat of Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier. We show that coastal winds vary according to the pressure gradient defined by a semi-permanent atmospheric high-pressure system over Greenland and a persistent atmospheric low situated near Iceland. The magnitude of this pressure gradient is controlled by longitudinal variability in the position of the Icelandic Low.

  8. Modelling meltwater delivery to the ice-bed interface through full thickness fractures on outlet glaciers of the western Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clason, C.; Mair, D.; Nienow, P. W.

    2010-12-01

    Dynamic response to increased supraglacial meltwater generation and subsequent influx to the subglacial hydrological system is well documented in temperate glaciers. Meltwater-enhanced acceleration of ice surface velocities, or ‘spring events’, have also more recently been observed on polythermal glaciers and outlet glaciers of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). These high velocity events may be a response to increased basal lubrication and basal water pressures when meltwater reaches the subglacial system directly through moulins. Supraglacial meltwater can provide hydrostatic stresses adequate to offset closure due to the lithostatic stress of the ice when streams intersect and enter surface crevasses. A crevasse will continue to propagate through the full ice thickness provided the meltwater head within the crevasse remains sufficient, thereby allowing this flux of meltwater to be delivered to the ice-bed interface. A spatially distributed model for prediction of full ice thickness water-driven fracture and quantification of meltwater delivered to the bed has been produced. The model consists of three major components: the first sub-routine calculates surface tensile stresses from measured ice surface velocities and identifies areas likely to contain crevassing following the Von Mises failure criteria; the second is a degree day melt model and flow routing model run using measured meteorological inputs; the third sub-routine calculates crevasse penetration depths using an established linear elastic fracture mechanics model for propagation of water-filled fractures. The daily outputs of melt modelling weight routing of meltwater across the ice surface, and in turn determine the discharge into crevasses. This allows the supraglacial meltwater head, and thus fracture propagation speed, to vary daily within crevasse depth modelling. The temporal resolution of the model also allows the evolution of moulin formation through the ablation season to be captured. We

  9. Heat, salt, and freshwater budgets for a glacial fjord in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, R. H.; Straneo, F.

    2015-12-01

    Fjords link the ocean and outlet glaciers of the Greenland ice sheet. As the ice sheet loses mass - potentially triggered by submarine melting - measurements of ocean heat transport in fjords are increasingly being used to diagnose submarine melting and freshwater fluxes. The full budgets that underlie such methods, however, have been largely neglected. Here, we present complete heat, salt, and mass budgets for glacial fjords and new equations for inferring the freshwater fluxes of submarine melting and runoff. Building on estuarine studies of salt budgets, this method includes a decomposition of the fjord transports (into barotropic, exchange, and fluctuating components) that is crucial for conserving mass in the budgets and appropriately accounting for temporal variability. These methods are applied to moored records from Sermilik Fjord, near the terminus of Helheim Glacier, to evaluate the dominant balances in the fjord budgets and to estimate freshwater fluxes. We find two different regimes seasonally that align with the seasonal variations in fjord drivers: shelf variability from barrier winds and freshwater forcing. Our results highlight many important components of fjord budgets, particularly iceberg melting, heat/salt storage and barotropic fluxes, that have been neglected in previous estimates of submarine melting.

  10. The Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment (SAFIRE): 2. Preliminary outcomes from hot-water drilling and borehole instrumentation on Store Glacier, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doyle, Samuel; Hubbard, Bryn; Christoffersen, Poul; Young, Tun Jan; Hofstede, Coen; Todd, Joe; Bougamont, Marion; Hubbard, Alun

    2015-04-01

    As part of the SAFIRE research programme, pressurised hot water was used to drill four 603-616 m-long boreholes to the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet at a site located 30 km from the calving front of marine-terminating Store Glacier (70° N, ~1000 m elevation). Despite the boreholes freezing within hours, 4 wired sensor strings were successfully deployed in three of the boreholes. These included a thermistor string to obtain the englacial temperature profile installed in the same borehole as a string of tilt sensors to measure borehole deformation, and two sets of water pressure, electrical conductivity and turbidity sensors installed just above the bed in separate, adjacent boreholes. The boreholes made a strong hydrological connection to the bed during drilling, draining rapidly to ~80 m below the ice surface. The connection of subsequent boreholes was observed as a perturbation in water pressure and temperature recorded in neighbouring boreholes, indicating an effective hydrological sub- or en-glacial connection between them. The short (week long) records obtained from these sensors in summer 2014 tentatively reveal (i) water pressure varying diurnally close to overburden albeit of a small magnitude (~0.3 m H2O), (ii) a minimum extrapolated englacial temperature of -21° C, (iii) and thermistors in the lowest 10 m of the borehole recorded temperatures above the pressure melting point indicating the presence of water. Data loggers were left running and longer records should become available in the near future. Differential drilling and instrument installation depths together with observations of discrete, diurnal turbidity events provisionally suggest the presence of sediment at the bed. These preliminary borehole observations will be complemented by GPS measurements of ice motion, meteorological data, and seismic and radar surveys to be undertaken over the next two years.

  11. Light Field and Optical Properties Measurements of a Supraglacial Melt Pond, Eastern Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sneed, W.; Hamilton, G. S.

    2008-12-01

    We performed hyperspectral measurements of solar downwelling irradiance and upwelling radiance (as reflected from the bottom) of a melt pond on Helheim Glacier, East Greenland. Simultaneous pond depth measurements were also made, and samples of pond water were acquired for analysis of optical absorption and attenuation characteristics using laboratory multi/hyperspectral spectrophotometers. The downwelling irradiance and upwelling radiance measurements allow us to calculate the widely use remote sensing reflectance parameter, Rrs, once the upwelling radiance is converted to the water-leaving radiance by taking into account effects at the water-air interface. Corrected for atmospheric effects, Rrs is the reflectance measured at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) by satellite sensors, including the visible/near infrared images collected by the ASTER sensor on the Terra satellite. In earlier work, we developed a method for extracting the depth of glacial melt ponds from ASTER TOA reflectance images. Using our recent in situ radiance, irradiance, and depth measurements we test the accuracy of that depth-finding algorithm. The laboratory absorption and attenuation analyses provide further validation of some of the initial fundamental assumptions of our method.

  12. Greenland's Biggest Losers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Box, J. E.; Hubbard, A.; Howat, I. M.; Csatho, B. M.; Decker, D. T.; Bates, R.; Tulaczyk, S. M.

    2010-12-01

    On 4 August, 2010, 275 square km of the front of the floating Petermann Glacier, far northwest Greenland, broke away. The glacier effectively retreated 15 km. Petermann has retreated 21 km since year 2000. Consulting available imagery, publications, and maps spanning the past century, we conclude that this is a retreat to a minimum extent in the observational record. This glacier is not the only ice are loser in Greenland. GRACE observations verify the concern of increased mass budget deficit. Retreat is ongoing at the 110 km wide Humboldt glacier and at the 23 km wide Zachariae ice stream. Humboldt, Zachariae, and Petermann (16 km wide) are among a handful of large marine-terminating outlets that have bedrock trenches that lead inland below sea level to the thick, interior reservoir of the ice sheet. Sleeping giants are awakening. Our area change survey of the 35 widest Greenland outlets indicates an annual marine-terminating glacier area loss rate in excess of 130 sq km per year. Here, we evaluate in this context the mechanisms for marine-terminating glacier retreat, dynamical responses to calving, and the apparent climate forcings. The work thus consults a suite of data sets, including: long-term meteorological station records; satellite-derived sea and land surface temperatures; satellite-derived sea ice extent; regional climate model output; oceanographic casts; time lapse cameras, surface elevation change, and tidal records. Cumulative area change at Greenland’s glacier top 5 “losers”. 2010 areas are measured ~1 month prior to the end of summer melt when the survey usually is made . We do not expect 2010 area changes to be much different using the future data. If anything, we expect the losses to be larger. Click here for a full resolution graphic.

  13. The Glaciers of HARMONIE

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mottram, Ruth; Gleeson, Emily; Pagh Nielsen, Kristian

    2016-04-01

    Developed by the large ALADIN-HIRLAM consortium, the numerical weather prediction (NWP) model system HARMONIE is run by a large number of national weather services and research institutions in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa for weather forecasting. It is now being adopted for climate research purposes as a limited area model in a form known as HCLIM. It is currently run for a number of domains, mostly in Europe but also including Greenland, at a very high resolution (~2.5 km). HARMONIE is a convection permitting non-hydrostatic model that includes the multi-purpose SURFEX surface model. By improving the characterization of glacier surfaces within SURFEX we show that weather forecast errors over both the Greenland ice sheet and over Icelandic glaciers can be significantly reduced. The improvements also facilitate increasingly accurate ice melt and runoff computations, which are important both for ice surface mass balance estimations and hydropower forecasting. These improvements will also benefit the operational HARMONIE domains that cover the Svalbard archipelago, the Alps and the Scandinavian mountain glaciers. Future uses of HCLIM for these regions, where accurately characterizing glacial terrain will be crucial for climate and glaciological applications, are also expected to benefit from this improvement. Here, we report the first results with a new glacier surface scheme in the HARMONIE model, validated with observations from the PROMICE network of automatic weather stations in Greenland. The scheme upgrades the existing surface energy balance over glaciers by including a new albedo parameterization for bare glacier ice and appropriate coefficients for calculating the turbulent fluxes. In addition the snow scheme from the SURFEX land surface module has been upgraded to allow the retention and refreezing of meltwater in the snowpack. These changes allow us to estimate surface mass balance over glaciers at a range of model resolutions that can take full

  14. The length of the glaciers in the world - a straightforward method for the automated calculation of glacier center lines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Machguth, H.; Huss, M.

    2014-05-01

    Glacier length is an important measure of glacier geometry but global glacier inventories are mostly lacking length data. Only recently semi-automated approaches to measure glacier length have been developed and applied regionally. Here we present a first global assessment of glacier length using a fully automated method based on glacier surface slope, distance to the glacier margins and a set of trade-off functions. The method is developed for East Greenland, evaluated for the same area as well as for Alaska, and eventually applied to all ∼200 000 glaciers around the globe. The evaluation highlights accurately calculated glacier length where DEM quality is good (East Greenland) and limited precision on low quality DEMs (parts of Alaska). Measured length of very small glaciers is subject to a certain level of ambiguity. The global calculation shows that only about 1.5% of all glaciers are longer than 10 km with Bering Glacier (Alaska/Canada) being the longest glacier in the world at a length of 196 km. Based on model output we derive global and regional area-length scaling laws. Differences among regional scaling parameters appear to be related to characteristics of topography and glacier mass balance. The present study adds glacier length as a central parameter to global glacier inventories. Global and regional scaling laws might proof beneficial in conceptual glacier models.

  15. Brief communication "The aerophotogrammetric map of Greenland ice masses"

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Citterio, M.; Ahlstrøm, A. P.

    2012-09-01

    The PROMICE (Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet) aerophotogrammetric map of Greenland ice masses is the first high resolution dataset documenting the mid-1980's extent of the Greenland Ice Sheet and all the local glaciers and ice caps. The total glacierized area was 1 804 638 km2 ± 2178 km2, of which 88 083 ± 1240 km2 belonged to local glaciers and ice caps (GIC) substantially independent from the Greenland Ice Sheet. This new result of GIC glacierized area is higher than most previous estimates, and is in line with contemporary findings based on independent data sources. Comparison between our map and the recently released GIMP (Greenland Mapping Project) Ice Cover Mask (Howat and Negrete, 2012) show potential for change assessment studies.

  16. Brief communication "The aerophotogrammetric map of Greenland ice masses"

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Citterio, M.; Ahlstrøm, A. P.

    2013-03-01

    The PROMICE (Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet) aerophotogrammetric map of Greenland ice masses is the first high resolution dataset documenting the mid-1980s areal extent of the Greenland Ice Sheet and all the local glaciers and ice caps. The total glacierized area excluding nunataks was 1 804 638 km2 ± 2178 km2, of which 88 083 ± 1240 km2 belonged to local glaciers and ice caps (GIC) substantially independent from the Greenland Ice Sheet. This new result of GIC glacierized area is higher than most previous estimates, 81% greater than Weng's (1995) measurements, but is in line with contemporary findings based on independent data sources. A comparison between our map and the recently released Rastner et al. (2012) inventory and GIMP (Greenland Ice Mapping Project) Ice-Cover Mask (Howat and Negrete, 2013) shows potential for change-assessment studies.

  17. Salinity and water temperature observations from the inaccessible waters beneath the dense ice mélange and tidewater glacier margins in Greenland obtained using instrumented ringed seals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mernild, Sebastian H.; Holland, David M.; Holland, Denise; Rosing-Asvid, Aqqalu

    2015-04-01

    Observations obtained by ringed seals (Pusa hispida) near tidewater glacier margins in Ilulissat Icefjord and Sermilik Fjord provide a novel platform to examine the otherwise inaccessible waters beneath the dense ice melangé within the first 0-10 km of the calving front - to advance our understanding of the hydrographic conditions of the waters near the outlet glaciers. CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth) Oceanography SRDL (Satellite Relay Data Logger) instruments were mounted on ringed seals with the aim of continuously measuring water salinity, depth, and the location (coordinates) of the seals. Instruments were mounted in August and September to illustrate the non-summer month's variability. A clear link, for example, in the north and south arms of Ilulissat Icefjord is shown after spikes in ice sheet melt water runoff on salinity changes in the upper water column. Small-amplitude runoff variability during the recession of runoff in late-summer did not create a clear signal in fjord salinity variability. The effect of runoff spikes on fjord salinity is less pronounced near the ice-margin of Jakobshavn Glacier than in the north and south arms. The vertically uneven change in salinity in days after a runoff peak indicate uneven vertical distribution of runoff draining through the glacier margin, where most runoff entered the fjord in the upper 50 m (the amount of englacial runoff decreased from the water surface and downwards). The seal-dive salinity profiles did not capture any signal of englacial freshwater entering the fjord across the grounding line. Even though, the seal observations seems to advance our understanding of hydrographic changes in the inaccessible waters beneath the dense ice mélange at the tide water margins.

  18. The length of the world's glaciers - a new approach for the global calculation of center lines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Machguth, H.; Huss, M.

    2014-09-01

    Glacier length is an important measure of glacier geometry. Nevertheless, global glacier inventories are mostly lacking length data. Only recently semi-automated approaches to measure glacier length have been developed and applied regionally. Here we present a first global assessment of glacier length using an automated method that relies on glacier surface slope, distance to the glacier margins and a set of trade-off functions. The method is developed for East Greenland, evaluated for East Greenland as well as for Alaska and eventually applied to all ~ 200 000 glaciers around the globe. The evaluation highlights accurately calculated glacier length where digital elevation model (DEM) quality is high (East Greenland) and limited accuracy on low-quality DEMs (parts of Alaska). Measured length of very small glaciers is subject to a certain level of ambiguity. The global calculation shows that only about 1.5% of all glaciers are longer than 10 km, with Bering Glacier (Alaska/Canada) being the longest glacier in the world at a length of 196 km. Based on the output of our algorithm we derive global and regional area-length scaling laws. Differences among regional scaling parameters appear to be related to characteristics of topography and glacier mass balance. The present study adds glacier length as a key parameter to global glacier inventories. Global and regional scaling laws might prove beneficial in conceptual glacier models.

  19. North and northeast Greenland ice discharge from satellite radar interferometry

    SciTech Connect

    Rignot, E.J.; Gogineni, S.P.; Krabill, W.B.

    1997-05-09

    Ice discharge from north and northeast Greenland calculated from satellite radar interferometry data of 14 outlet glaciers is 3.5 times that estimated from iceberg production. The satellite estimates, obtained at the grounding line of the outlet glaciers, differ from those obtained at the glacier front, because basal melting is extensive at the underside of the floating glacier sections. The results suggest that the north and northeast parts of the Greenland ice sheet may be thinning and contributing positively to sea-level rise. 24 refs., 3 figs., 1 tab.

  20. North and Northeast Greenland Ice Discharge from Satellite Radar Interferometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rignot, E. J.; Gogineni, S. P.; Krabill, W. B.; Ekholm, S.

    1997-01-01

    Ice discharge from north and northeast Greenland calculated from satellite radar interferometry data of 14 outlet glaciers is 3.5 times that estimated from iceberg production. The satellite estimates, obtained at the grounding line of the outlet glaciers, differ from those obtained at the glacier front, because basal melting is extensive at the underside of the floating glacier sections. The results suggest that the north and northeast parts of the Greenland ice sheet may be thinning and contributing positively to sea-level rise.

  1. Bibliography of glacier studies by the U.S. Geological Survey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Snyder, E.F.

    1996-01-01

    Reports on glaciers written by U.S. Geological Survey members between 1896 and early 1996 are listed. The reports contain information about glacier and had at least one USGS author or was dependent on USGS data or projects. Extensive glacier studies have been done by the USGS in North America, Greenland, Iceland, as well as in Antarctica.

  2. Arctic polynya and glacier interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwards, Laura

    2013-04-01

    Major uncertainties surround future estimates of sea level rise attributable to mass loss from the polar ice sheets and ice caps. Understanding changes across the Arctic is vital as major potential contributors to sea level, the Greenland Ice Sheet and the ice caps and glaciers of the Canadian Arctic archipelago, have experienced dramatic changes in recent times. Most ice mass loss is currently focused at a relatively small number of glacier catchments where ice acceleration, thinning and calving occurs at ocean margins. Research suggests that these tidewater glaciers accelerate and iceberg calving rates increase when warming ocean currents increase melt on the underside of floating glacier ice and when adjacent sea ice is removed causing a reduction in 'buttressing' back stress. Thus localised changes in ocean temperatures and in sea ice (extent and thickness) adjacent to major glacial catchments can impact hugely on the dynamics of, and hence mass lost from, terrestrial ice sheets and ice caps. Polynyas are areas of open water within sea ice which remain unfrozen for much of the year. They vary significantly in size (~3 km2 to > ~50,000 km2 in the Arctic), recurrence rates and duration. Despite their relatively small size, polynyas play a vital role in the heat balance of the polar oceans and strongly impact regional oceanography. Where polynyas develop adjacent to tidewater glaciers their influence on ocean circulation and water temperatures may play a major part in controlling subsurface ice melt rates by impacting on the water masses reaching the calving front. Areas of open water also play a significant role in controlling the potential of the atmosphere to carry moisture, as well as allowing heat exchange between the atmosphere and ocean, and so can influence accumulation on (and hence thickness of) glaciers and ice caps. Polynya presence and size also has implications for sea ice extent and therefore potentially the buttressing effect on neighbouring

  3. Investigating the Greenland ice sheet evolution under changing climate using a three-dimensional full-Stokes model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seddik, H.; Greve, R.; Zwinger, T.; Gillet-Chaulet, F.; Gagliardini, O.

    2010-12-01

    A three-dimensional, thermo-mechanically coupled model is applied to the Greenland ice sheet. The model implements the full-Stokes equations for the ice dynamics, and the system is solved with the finite-element method (FEM) using the open source multi-physics package Elmer (http://www.csc.fi/elmer/). The finite-element mesh for the computational domain has been created using the Greenland surface and bedrock DEM data with a spatial resolution of 5 km (SeaRise community effort, based on Bamber and others, 2001). The study is particularly aimed at better understanding the ice dynamics near the major Greenland ice streams. The meshing procedure starts with the bedrock footprint where a mesh with triangle elements and a resolution of 5 km is constructed. Since the resulting mesh is unnecessarily dense in areas with slow ice dynamics, an anisotropic mesh adaptation procedure has been introduced. Using the measured surface velocities to evaluate the Hessian matrix of the velocities, a metric tensor is computed at the mesh vertices in order to define the adaptation scheme. The resulting meshed footprint obtained with the automatic tool YAMS shows a high density of elements in the vicinities of the North-East Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS), the Jakobshavn ice stream (JIS) and the Kangerdlugssuaq (KL) and Helheim (HH) glaciers. On the other hand, elements with a coarser resolution are generated away from the ice streams and domain margins. The final three-dimensional mesh is obtained by extruding the 2D footprint with 21 vertical layers, so that the resulting mesh contains 400860 wedge elements and 233583 nodes. The numerical solution of the Stokes and the heat transfer equations involves direct and iterative solvers depending on the simulation case, and both methods are coupled with stabilization procedures. The boundary conditions are such that the temperature at the surface uses the present-day mean annual air temperature given by a parameterization or directly from the

  4. Hinge-line Migration of Petermann Gletscher, North Greenland, Detected Using Satellite Radar Interferometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rignot, Eric

    1998-01-01

    The synthetic-aperture radar interferometry technique is used to detect the migration of the limit of tidal flexing, or hinge line, of the floating ice tongue of Petermann Gletscher, a major outlet glacier of north Greenland.

  5. Suspended particle dynamics and related fjord sedimentation in Kangerlussuaq and Sermilik fjord, SW and SE Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andersen, T. J.; Markussen, T. N.; Nielsen, M. H.; Lund-Hansen, L. C.; Pejrup, M.

    2012-12-01

    settling is that the fine-grained sediment entering the fjord will be kept in suspension for months before final deposition which ensures a uniform distribution that makes it ideal for studies of the fjord-history. Preliminary Lagrangian experiments conducted in Sermilik Fjord confirm this interpretation and showed very low settling velocities in spite of rather quick (time-scale hours) flocculation of the suspended sediment. I August 2012 further studies, including collection of sediment cores, will be carried out in the inner part of Sermilik fjord to examine if some sort of textural sorting of plume sediment takes place in this fjord which is dominated by calving. If this is the case then examination of such sorting in sediment cores will help unveil the calving history of the tide-water glaciers in the area, including the large Helheim Glacier.

  6. Laser altimetry reveals complex pattern of Greenland Ice Sheet dynamics.

    PubMed

    Csatho, Beata M; Schenk, Anton F; van der Veen, Cornelis J; Babonis, Gregory; Duncan, Kyle; Rezvanbehbahani, Soroush; van den Broeke, Michiel R; Simonsen, Sebastian B; Nagarajan, Sudhagar; van Angelen, Jan H

    2014-12-30

    We present a new record of ice thickness change, reconstructed at nearly 100,000 sites on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) from laser altimetry measurements spanning the period 1993-2012, partitioned into changes due to surface mass balance (SMB) and ice dynamics. We estimate a mean annual GrIS mass loss of 243 ± 18 Gt ⋅ y(-1), equivalent to 0.68 mm ⋅ y(-1) sea level rise (SLR) for 2003-2009. Dynamic thinning contributed 48%, with the largest rates occurring in 2004-2006, followed by a gradual decrease balanced by accelerating SMB loss. The spatial pattern of dynamic mass loss changed over this time as dynamic thinning rapidly decreased in southeast Greenland but slowly increased in the southwest, north, and northeast regions. Most outlet glaciers have been thinning during the last two decades, interrupted by episodes of decreasing thinning or even thickening. Dynamics of the major outlet glaciers dominated the mass loss from larger drainage basins, and simultaneous changes over distances up to 500 km are detected, indicating climate control. However, the intricate spatiotemporal pattern of dynamic thickness change suggests that, regardless of the forcing responsible for initial glacier acceleration and thinning, the response of individual glaciers is modulated by local conditions. Recent projections of dynamic contributions from the entire GrIS to SLR have been based on the extrapolation of four major outlet glaciers. Considering the observed complexity, we question how well these four glaciers represent all of Greenland's outlet glaciers. PMID:25512537

  7. Regional Observations of Alaska Glacier Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burgess, E. W.; Forster, R. R.; Hall, D. K.

    2010-12-01

    Alaska glaciers contribute more to sea level rise than any other glacierized mountain region in the world. Alaska is loosing ~84 Gt of ice annually, which accounts for ~0.23 mm/yr of SLR (Luthcke et al., 2008). Complex glacier flow dynamics, frequently related to tidewater environments, is the primary cause of such rapid mass loss (Larsen et al., 2007). Indirect observations indicate these complex flow dynamics occur on many glaciers throughout Alaska, but no comprehensive velocity measurements exist. We are working to measure glacier surface velocities throughout Alaska using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) offset tracking. This work focuses on the Seward/Malaspina, Bering, Columbia, Kaskawulsh, and Hubbard Glaciers and uses a MODIS land surface temperature "melt-day" product (Hall et al., 2006, 2008) to identify potential links between velocity variability and summertime temperature fluctuations. Hall, D., R. Williams Jr., K. Casey, N. DiGirolamo, and Z. Wan (2006), Satellite-derived, melt-season surface temperature of the Greenland Ice Sheet (2000-2005) and its relationship to mass balance, Geophysical Research Letters, 33(11). Hall, D., J. Box, K. Casey, S. Hook, C. Shuman, and K. Steffen (2008), Comparison of satellite-derived and in-situ observations of ice and snow surface temperatures over Greenland, Remote Sensing of Environment, 112(10), 3739-3749. Larsen, C. F., R. J. Motyka, A. A. Arendt, K. A. Echelmeyer, and P. E. Geissler (2007), Glacier changes in southeast Alaska and northwest British Columbia and contribution to sea level rise, J. Geophys. Res. Luthcke, S., A. Arendt, D. Rowlands, J. McCarthy, and C. Larsen (2008), Recent glacier mass changes in the Gulf of Alaska region from GRACE mascon solutions, Journal of Glaciology, 54(188), 767-777.

  8. Reconstructing Glaciers on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, A., II; Brough, S.; Hubbard, B. P.

    2015-12-01

    Mars' mid-latitudes host a substantial volume of ice, equivalent to a ~1 - 2.5 m-thick global layer or the sum of Earth's glaciers and ice caps outside of Antarctica and Greenland. These deposits are the remnants of what is believed to have been a once far larger 'ice age', culminating in a last martian glacial maximum. Despite the identification of >1,300 glacier-like forms (GLFs) - the first order component of Mars' glacial landsystem - in Mars' mid-latitudes, little is known about their composition, dynamics or former extent. Here, we reconstruct the former 3D extent of a well-studied GLF located in eastern Hellas Planitia. We combine high-resolution geomorphic and topographic data, obtained from the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, to reconstruct the GLF's former limits. We then apply a perfect plasticity rheological model, to generate multiple flow-parallel ice-surface transects. These are combined with the GLF's boundary to guide interpolation using ArcGIS' 'Topo to Raster' function to produce a continuous 3D surface for the reconstructed former GLF. Our results indicate that, since its reconstructed 'recent maximum' extent, the GLF's volume has reduced by 0.31 km3 and its area by 6.85 km2, or 70%. On-going research is addressing the degree to which this change is typical of Mars' full GLF population.

  9. The Greenland Ice Mapping Project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joughin, I.; Smith, B.; Howat, I. M.; Moon, T. A.; Scambos, T. A.

    2015-12-01

    Numerous glaciers in Greenland have sped up rapidly and unpredictably during the first part of the 21st Century. We started the Greenland Ice Mapping Project (GIMP) to produce time series of ice velocity for Greenland's major outlet glaciers. We are also producing image time series to document the advance and retreat of glacier calving fronts and other changes in ice-sheet geometry (e.g., shrinking ice caps and ice shelves). When the project began, there was no digital elevation model (DEM) with sufficient accuracy and resolution to terrain-correct the SAR-derived products. Thus, we also produced the 30-m GIMP DEM, which, aside from improving our processing, is an important product in its own right. Although GIMP focuses on time series, complete spatial coverage for initializing ice sheet models also is important. There are insufficient data, however, to map the full ice sheet in any year. There is good RADARSAT coverage for many years in the north, but the C-band data decorrelate too quickly to measure velocity in the high accumulation regions of the southeast. For such regions, ALOS data usually correlate well, but speckle-tracking estimates at L-band are subject to large ionospheric artifacts. Interferometric phase data are far less sensitive to the effect of the ionosphere, but velocity estimates require results from crossing orbits. Thus, to produce a nearly complete mosaic we used data from multiple sensors, beginning with ERS-1/2 data from the mid 1990s. By using a primarily phase-only solution for much of the interior, we have reduced the velocity errors to ~1-3 m/yr. For the faster moving ice-sheet margin where phase data cannot be unwrapped, we used speckle-tracking data. In particular, we have relied on TerraSAR-X for many fast-moving glaciers because the ionosphere far less affects X-band data. This pan-Greenland velocity map as well as many of the time series would not have been possible without an extensive archive of data collected using six

  10. Large Fluctuations in Speed on Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Joughin, Ian; Abdalati, Waleed; Fahnestock, Mark

    2003-01-01

    We have assembled an 18-year velocity record for Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland. From a 1985 speed of approx. 7000 m/yr, the glacier had slowed by approx. 1000 m/ yr in 1992, which coincided with independently observed thickening in the early 1990s . The glacier then sped up by approx. 4000 m/yr between 1997 and 2000, during which time other measurements show rapid thinning . From 2000 to 2003, the glacier s floating ice tongue almost entirely disintegrated, as speed increased to 12,600 m/yr. If the retreat of the ice tongue caused the acceleration, then similar losses of floating ice tongues since the Little Ice Age may explain the current rapid thinning observed for many of Greenland s outlet glaciers.

  11. Greenland's Coast in Holiday Colors

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    Vibrant reds, emerald greens, brilliant whites, and pastel blues adorn this view of the area surrounding the Jakobshavn Glacier on the western coast of Greenland. The image is a false-color (near-infrared, green, blue) view acquired by the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer's nadir camera. The brightness of vegetation in the near-infrared contributes to the reddish hues; glacial silt gives rise to the green color of the water; and blue-colored melt ponds are visible in the bright white ice. A scattering of small icebergs in Disco Bay adds a touch of glittery sparkle to the scene.

    The large island in the upper left is called Qeqertarsuaq. To the east of this island, and just above image center, is the outlet of the fast-flowing Jakobshavn (or Ilulissat) glacier. Jakobshavn is considered to have the highest iceberg production of all Greenland glaciers and is a major drainage outlet for a large portion of the western side of the ice sheet. Icebergs released from the glacier drift slowly with the ocean currents and pose hazards for shipping along the coast.

    The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer views the daylit Earth continuously and the entire globe between 82 degrees north and 82 degrees south latitude is observed every 9 days. These data products were generated from a portion of the imagery acquired on June 18, 2003 during Terra orbit 18615. The image cover an area of about 254 kilometers x 210 kilometers, and use data from blocks 34 to 35 within World Reference System-2 path 10.

    MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, for NASA's Office of Earth Science, Washington, DC. The Terra satellite is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.

  12. Tidewater Margin Dynamics in Central East Greenland Over two Decades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiskoot, H.; Juhlin, D.; St. Pierre, H.; Citterio, M.

    2010-12-01

    About 50% (~50000 km2) of the glaciers peripheral to the Greenland Ice Sheet are located in central East Greenland (67°-72°N). This region of extreme topography contains ice caps, mountain glaciers and large outlet glacier systems. Regional runoff to the North Atlantic is important in global thermohaline circulation and sea ice dynamics. The region has very limited glaciological research and only few quantitative remote sensing studies. Because of factors including East Greenland being predicted as a hotspot in global climate models, the positive regional correlation between the timing of sea ice break-up and increased surface melt, and the regional glacier characteristics, it is assumed that central East Greenland is highly sensitive to climate change. Many glaciers are tidewater terminating and will have a direct dynamic response to increased ocean temperatures and rising sea level, which has in some cases already led to upstream speed-up. Additionally, some glaciers are inferred polythermal, hence projected climate change may affect their thermal regime and ice dynamic behaviour. Moreover, 30-70% of regional glaciers are of surge-type, and redistribution of glacier volume to lower elevations increases ablation. Terminus fluctuations associated with surges, as well as large multi-annual calving fluxes, complicate extraction of glacioclimatic responses. In order to assess glacier characteristics, recent changes, and climate sensitivity we compiled a detailed glacier inventory of the Geikie Plateau region, using semi-automated digitization from satellite imagery between 2000 and 2005. A mosaic was created using 68 ASTER and 6 Landsat7 scenes. Glaciers were identified using a supervised Mahalanobis Distance classification. Small polygons and irregularities were removed using the Lee Filter and manual correction. The glacier inventory contains 330 glaciers (41591 km2). The largest glacier, Kong Christian IV (10696 km2), is in part an outlet of the Greenland Ice

  13. Associations between accelerated glacier mass wastage and increased summer temperature in coastal regions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dyurgerov, M.; McCabe, G.J.

    2006-01-01

    Low-elevation glaciers in coastal regions of Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, individual ice caps around the Greenland ice sheet, and the Patagonia Ice Fields have an aggregate glacier area of about 332 ?? 103 km 2 and account for approximately 42% of all the glacier area outside the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. They have shown volume loss, especially since the end of the 1980s, increasing from about 45% in the 1960s to nearly 67% in 2003 of the total wastage from all glaciers on Earth outside those two largest ice sheets. Thus, a disproportionally large contribution of coastal glacier ablation to sea level rise is evident. We examine cumulative standardized departures (1961-2000 reference period) of glacier mass balances and air temperature data in these four coastal regions. Analyses indicate a strong association between increases in glacier volume losses and summer air temperature at regional and global scales. Increases in glacier volume losses in the coastal regions also coincide with an accelerated rate of ice discharge from outlet glaciers draining the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets. These processes imply further increases in sea level rise. ?? 2006 Regents of the University of Colorado.

  14. Nuuk, Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    Nuuk (or Gadthab) is the capital and largest city of Greenland. It is located at the mouth of the Nuup Kangerlua inlet on the west coast of Greenland. It has a population of about 15,000. The site has a long history of different inhabitation: first by the Inuit people around 2000 B.C., later by Viking explorers in the 10th century. Inuit and Vikings lived together for about 500 years until about 1500, when human habitation suddenly stopped, most likely due to change in climate and vegetation.

    The image was acquired August 2, 2004, covers an area of 22.7 x 26 km, and is located at 64.2 degrees north latitude, 51.8 degrees west longitude.

    The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

  15. Warm Atlantic water drives Greenland Ice Sheet discharge dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christoffersen, P.; Heywood, K. J.; Dowdeswell, J. A.; Syvitski, J. P.; Benham, T. J.; Mugford, R. I.; Joughin, I.; Luckman, A.

    2008-12-01

    Greenland outlet glaciers terminating in fjords experience seasonal fluctuations as well as abrupt episodes of rapid retreat and speed-up. The cause of abrupt speed-up events is not firmly established, but synchronous occurrences suggest that it is related to Arctic warming. Here, we report major warming of water masses in Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord, East Greenland, immediately prior to the fast retreat and speed-up of Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier in 2004-05. Our hydrographic data show that this event occurred when Atlantic water entered the fjord and increased temperature of surface water by 4°C and deep water by 1°C. On the basis of meteorological records and satellite-derived sea surface temperatures, which fluctuate by up to 4°C in periods of 2-3 years, we infer that inflow of Atlantic water is controlled by the direction and intensity of prevailing winds that force coastal and offshore currents. Our results demonstrate that Greenland Ice Sheet discharge dynamics are modulated by North Atlantic climate variability, which is identified by shifts in the position of atmospheric low pressure over the Labrador and Irminger seas. A persisting westerly position of the Icelandic Low since 1999 may explain why winters in Greenland have been particularly mild during the last decade and it is feasible that widespread and synchronous discharge fluctuations from outlet glaciers, which resulted in high rates of ice loss in southeast Greenland, are a consequence of this synoptic condition.

  16. Alpine Glaciers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site]

    Released 27 August 2003

    This image shows part of the western flank of Arsia Mons, the southernmost of the three great Tharsis Montes. The surface shows parallel ridges more reminiscent of a Zen garden than any typical geological feature. These ridges are not typical of lava flow fronts, so a different explanation has been proposed by Mars scientists. These ridges may instead be ancient signs of previously existing glaciers that formed high on the volcano's flank. As glaciers retreat with the seasons and shifting climate, they leave behind a mound of debris along their receding edge. Successive retreats can produce a series of parallel ridges similar to those seen here.

    Image information: VIS instrument. Latitude -6.9, Longitude 230.5 East (129.5 West). 19 meter/pixel resolution.

  17. North Greenland's Ice Shelves and Ocean Warming

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muenchow, A.; Schauer, U.; Padman, L.; Melling, H.; Fricker, H. A.

    2014-12-01

    Rapid disintegration of ice shelves (the floating extensions of marine-terminating glaciers) can lead to increasing ice discharge, thinning upstream ice sheets, rising sea level. Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica, and Jacobshavn Isbrae, Greenland, provide prominent examples of these processes which evolve at decadal time scales. We here focus on three glacier systems north of 78 N in Greenland, each of which discharges more than 10 Gt per year of ice and had an extensive ice shelf a decade ago; Petermann Gletscher (PG), Niogshalvfjerdsfjorden (79N), and Zachariae Isstrom (ZI). We summarize and discuss direct observations of ocean and glacier properties for these systems as they have evolved in the northwest (PG) and northeast (79N and ZI) of Greenland over the last two decades. We use a combination of modern and historical snapshots of ocean temperature and salinity (PG, 79N, ZI), moored observations in Nares Strait (PG), and snapshots of temperature and velocity fields on the broad continental shelf off northeast Greenland (79N, ZI) collected between 1993 and 2014. Ocean warming adjacent to PG has been small relative to the ocean warming adjacent to 79N and ZI; however, ZI lost its entire ice shelf during the last decade while 79N, less than 70 km to the north of ZI, remained stable. In contrast, PG has thinned by about 10 m/y just prior to shedding two ice islands representing almost half its ice shelf area or a fifth by volume. At PG advective ice flux divergence explains about half of the dominantly basal melting while response to non-steady external forcing explains the other half. The observations at PG,79N, and ZI suggest that remotely sensed ambient surface ocean temperatures are poor proxies to explain ice shelf thinning and retreat. We posit that local dynamics of the subsurface ocean heat flux matters most. Ocean heat must first be delivered over the sill into the fjord and then within the ice shelf cavity to the base of the shelf near the grounding line

  18. From Glaciers to Icebergs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Wendy

    I will describe works from a collaboration between physics and glaciology that grew out of interactions at the Computations in Science seminar Leo Kadanoff organized at the University of Chicago. The first project considers the interaction between ocean waves and Antarctic ice shelves, large floating portions of ice formed by glacial outflows. Back-of-envelop calculation and seismic sensor data suggest that crevasses may be distributed within an ice shelf to shield it from wave energy. We also examine numerical scenarios in which changes in environmental forcing causes the ice shelf to fail catastrophically. The second project investigates the aftermath of iceberg calving off glacier terminus in Greenland using data recorded via time-lapse camera and terrestrial radar. Our observations indicate that the mélange of icebergs within the fjord experiences widespread jamming during a calving event and therefore is always close to being in a jammed state during periods of terminus quiescence. Joint work with Jason Amundson, Ivo R. Peters, Julian Freed Brown, Nicholas Guttenberg, Justin C Burton, L. Mac Cathles, Ryan Cassotto, Mark Fahnestock, Kristopher Darnell, Martin Truffer, Dorian S. Abbot and Douglas MacAyeal. Kadanoff Session DCMP.

  19. Regional projections of glacier volume and runoff in response to twenty-first century climate scenarios (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Radic, V.; Bliss, A. K.; Hock, R.

    2013-12-01

    Changes in mass contained by mountain glaciers and ice caps can modify the Earth's hydrological cycle on multiple scales. On a global scale, the mass loss from glaciers contributes to sea level rise. On regional and local scales, glacier melt-water is an important contributor to and modulator of river flow. In this study we use an elevation-dependent glacier mass balance model to project annual volume changes and monthly runoff from all mountain glaciers and ice caps in the world (excluding those in the Antarctic periphery) for the 21st century forced by temperature and precipitation scenarios from 14 global climate models. The largest contributors to projected total volume loss are the glaciers in the Canadian and Russian Arctic, Alaska and glaciers peripheral to Greenland ice sheet. Although small contributors to global volume loss, glaciers in Central Europe, low-latitude South America, Caucasus, North Asia, and Western Canada and US are projected to lose more than 75% of their volume by 2100. The magnitude and sign of trends in annual runoff totals differ considerably among regions depending on the balance between enhanced melt and the reduction of the glacier reservoir by glacier retreat and shrinkage. Most regions show strong declines in glacier runoff indicating that the effect of glacier shrinkage is more dominant than increased melting rates. Some high-latitude regions (Arctic Canada North, Russian Arctic and Greenland) exhibit increases in runoff totals. Iceland and Svalbard show an increase in runoff followed by a multi-decadal decrease in annual runoff.

  20. New constraints on the deglaciation chronology of the southeastern margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levy, L.; Larsen, N. K.; Kjaer, K. H.; Bjork, A. A.; Kjeldsen, K. K.; Funder, S.; Kelly, M. A.; Howley, J. A.; Zimmerman, S. R. H.

    2015-12-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is responding rapidly to climate change. Marine terminating outlet glaciers that drain the GrIS have responded especially sensitively to present-day climate change by accelerating, thinning and retreating. In southeastern Greenland several outlet glaciers are undergoing rapid changes in mass balance and ice dynamics. To improve our understanding of the future, long-term response of these marine-terminating outlet glaciers to climate change, we focus on the response of three outlet glaciers to climate change since the Last Glacial Maximum. The timing and rates of late-glacial and early Holocene deglaciation of the southeastern sector of the GrIS are relatively unconstrained due to the inaccessibility of the region. Using a helicopter and a sailboat, we collected samples for 10Be surface exposure dating from three fjords in southeastern Greenland: Skjoldungen (63.4N), Uvtorsiutit (62.7N), and Lindenow (60.6N). These fjords drain marine terminating glaciers of the GrIS. Here we present 18 new 10Be ages from ~50 km long transects along these fjords that mark the timing of deglaciation from the outer coast inland to the present-day GrIS margin. Together with previously constrained deglaciation chronologies from Bernstorffs, Sermilik, and Kangerdlussuaq fjords in southeastern Greenland, these new chronologies offer insight into the late-glacial and early Holocene dynamics of the southeastern GrIS outlet glaciers. We compare the timing and rate of deglaciation in southeastern Greenland to climate records from the region to examine the mechanisms that drove deglaciation during late-glacial and early Holocene time. These new 10Be ages provide a longer-term perspective of marine terminating outlet glacier fluctuations in southeastern Greenland and can be used to model the ice sheet's response to late-glacial and early Holocene climate changes.

  1. ICESat Observations of Southern Alaska Glaciers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sauber, Jeanne; Molnia, Bruce F.; Mitchell, Darius

    2003-01-01

    In late February and March, 2003, the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) measured ice and land elevations along profiles across southern Alaska. During this initial data acquisition stage ICESat observations were made on 8-day repeat tracks to enable calibration and validation of the ICESat data products. Each profile consists of a series of single point values derived from centroid elevations of an $\\approx$70 m diameter laser footprint. The points are s4pakated by $\\approx$172 m along track. Data siets of 8-day observations (an ascending and descending ground track) crossed the Bering and Malaspina Glacier. Following its 1993--1995 surge; the Bering Glacier has undergone major terminus retreat as well as ike thinning in the abtation zone. During the later part of the 20th century, parts of the Malaspina thinned by about 1 m/yr. The multiple observation profiles across the Bering and Malaspina piedmont lobes obtained in February/March are being geolocated on Landsat images and the elevation profiles will be used for a number o scientific objectives. Based on our simulations of ICESat performance over the varied ice surface of the Jakobshavn Glacier of GReenland, 2003, we expect to measure annual, and possibly seasonal, ice elevation changes on the large Alaskan glaciers. Using elevation data obtained from a second laser, we plan to estimate ice elevation changes on the Bering Glacier between March and October 2003.

  2. First Younger Dryas moraines in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Funder, Svend; Larsen, Nicolaj K.; Linge, Henriette; Möller, Per; Schomacker, Anders; Fabel, Derek; Kjær, Kurt H.; Xu, Sheng

    2016-04-01

    Over the Greenland ice sheet the Younger Dryas (YD) cold climate oscillation (12.9-11.7 kaBP) began with up to 10°C drop in temperatures and ended with up to 12°C abrupt warming. In the light of the present warming and melting of the ice sheet, and its importance for future climate change, the ice sheet's response to these dramatic changes in the past is of great interest. However, even though much effort has gone into charting YD ice margin behaviour around Greenland in recent years, no clear-cut signal of response to the oscillation has been uncovered. Here we show evidence to suggest that three major outlets from a local ice cap at Greenland's north coast advanced and retreated synchronously during YD. The evidence comprises OSL (optically stimulated luminescence) dates from a marine transgression of the coastal valleys that preceded the advance, and exposure ages from boulders on the moraines, formed by glaciers that overrode the marine sediment. The OSL ages suggest a maximum age of 12.4 ±0.6 kaBP for the marine incursion, and 10 exposure ages on boulders from the three moraines provide an average minimum age of 12.5 ±0.7 kaBP for the moraines, implying that the moraines were formed within the interval 11.8-13.0 kaBP. Elsewhere in Greenland evidence for readvance has been recorded in two areas. Most notably, in the East Greenland fjord zone outlet glaciers over a stretch of 800 km coast advanced through the fjords. In Scoresby Sund, where the moraines form a wide belt, an extensive 14C and exposure dating programme has shown that the readvance here probably culminated before YD, while cessation of moraine formation and rapid retreat from the moraine belt did not commence until c. 11.5 kaBP, but no moraines have so far been dated to YD. Readvance is also seen in Disko Bugt, the largest ice sheet outlet in West Greenland. However, here the advance and retreat of the ice stream took place in mid YD times, and lasted only a few hundred years, while YD in

  3. Towards a complete World Glacier Inventory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zemp, Michael

    2013-04-01

    scale. A first globally and almost complete map with (generalized) digital outlines of all ice covered regions (incl. Greenland but excluding Antarctica) was derived from ESRI's Digital Chart of the World (DCW) and other sources by Raup and colleagues in 2000. Most recently, Arendt and colleagues produced the Randolph dataset which combines available outlines from the GLIMS, DCW, and WGI datasets as well as from many other (often unpublished) sources by using the highest quality version in each region. However, while having the advantage of being almost complete, these global estimates lack time stamps and attributes for individual glaciers. The present work provides a brief review of the various efforts, its methodological differences, and findings towards the completion of a World Glacier Inventory.

  4. Greenland Expeditions by Alfred Wegener - A photographic window to past

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leitner, M.; Tschürtz, S.; Kirchengast, G.; Kranzelbinder, H.; Prügger, B.; Krause, R. A.; Kalliokoski, M.; Thórhallsdóttir, E.

    2012-04-01

    On several expeditions to Greenland, Alfred Wegener (1880-1930) took pictures on glass plates from landscapes and glaciers, the expedition equipment, the people and animals taking part on the expeditions as well as physical phenomena as dust storm, clouds or spherical light phenomena. Chronologically the plates show the Danmark Expedition 1906-1908, the crossing of Greenland expedition with stop in Iceland 1912-1913, and the German Greenland Expedition 1929-1930. Until the tragic end of the expedition in 1930, Wegener was professor at the University of Graz, and such a stock of about 300 glass plates stayed there. The aim of our work is to digitize all plates for further studies. We present a first selection of Wegener's Greenland expedition pictures. For those made at Iceland in 1912 we will present a comparison of the past with pictures from the same viewing point made in 2011.

  5. South Cascade Glacier bibliography

    SciTech Connect

    Fountain, A.G.; Fulk, M.A.

    1984-01-01

    South Cascade Glacier, in Washington State, resides in a well-defined basin with mainly unglacierized divides making it ideal for most glaciological and hydrological studies. This bibliography is divided into three cateogories: (1) studies done about South Cascade Glacier specifically; (2) studies that use data from South Cascade Glacier but do not focus on or give insight to the glacier itself; and (3) instrumentation studies and non-glacier projects including snow studies done in the basin. (ACR)

  6. Potential positive feedback between Greenland Ice Sheet melt and Baffin Bay heat content on the west Greenland shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Castro de la Guardia, Laura; Hu, Xianmin; Myers, Paul G.

    2015-06-01

    Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff has been increasing in recent decades, especially in the southwest and the northeast. To determine the impact of this accelerating meltwater flux on Baffin Bay, we examine eight numerical experiments using an ocean-sea ice model: Nucleus for European Modelling of the Ocean. Enhanced runoff causes shoreward increasing sea surface height and strengthens the stratification in Baffin Bay. The changes in sea surface height reduces the southward transport through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and strengthens the gyre circulation within Baffin Bay. The latter leads to further freshening of surface waters as it produces a larger northward surface freshwater transport across Davis Strait. Increasing the meltwater runoff leads to a warming and shallowing of the west Greenland Irminger water on the northwest Greenland shelf. These warmer waters can now more easily enter fjords on the Greenland coast and thus provide additional heat to accelerate the melting of marine-terminating glaciers.

  7. Contribution of small glaciers to global sea level

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Meier, M.F.

    1984-01-01

    Observed long-term changes in glacier volume and hydrometeorological mass balance models yield data on the transfer of water from glaciers, excluding those in Greenland and Antarctica, to the oceans, The average observed volume change for the period 1900 to 1961 is scaled to a global average by use of the seasonal amplitude of the mass balance. These data are used to calibrate the models to estimate the changing contribution of glaciers to sea level for the period 1884 to 1975. Although the error band is large, these glaciers appear to accountfor a third to half of observed rise in sea level, approximately that fraction not explained by thermal expansion of the ocean.

  8. The Greenland Ice Sheet Monitoring Network (GLISN)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, K. R.; Beaudoin, B. C.; Butler, R.; Clinton, J. F.; Dahl-Jensen, T.; Ekstrom, G.; Giardini, D.; Govoni, A.; Hanka, W.; Kanao, M.; Larsen, T.; Lasocki, S.; McCormack, D. A.; Mykkeltveit, S.; Nettles, M.; Agostinetti, N. P.; Stutzmann, E.; Tsuboi, S.; Voss, P.

    2010-12-01

    The GreenLand Ice Sheet monitoring Network (GLISN) is an international, broadband seismic capability for Greenland, being installed and implemented through the collaboration of Denmark, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, and USA. GLISN is a real-time sensor array of seismic stations to enhance and upgrade the performance of the sparse Greenland seismic infrastructure for detecting, locating, and characterizing glacial earthquakes and other cryo-seismic phenomena, and contributing to our understanding of Ice Sheet dynamics. Complementing data from satellites, geodesy, and other sources, and in concert with these technologies, GLISN will provide a powerful tool for detecting change, and will advance new frontiers of research in the glacial systems; the underlying geological and geophysical processes affecting the Greenland Ice Sheet; interactions between oceans, climate, and the cryosphere; and other multidisciplinary areas of interest to geoscience and climate dynamics. The glacial processes that induce seismic events (internal deformation, sliding at the base, disintegration at the calving front, drainage of supra-glacial lakes) are all integral to the overall dynamics of glaciers, and seismic observations of glaciers therefore provide a quantitative means for monitoring changes in their behavior over time. Long-term seismic monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet will contribute to identifying possible unsuspected mechanisms and metrics relevant to ice sheet collapse, and will provide new constraints on Ice Sheet dynamic processes and their potential roles in sea-level rise during the coming decades. GLISN will provide a new, fiducial reference network in and around Greenland for monitoring these phenomena in real-time, and for the broad seismological study of Earth and earthquakes. The 2010 summer field season saw the installation or upgrade of 9 stations in the GLISN network. Sites visited under the GLISN project include Station Nord (NOR

  9. Resolving bathymetry from airborne gravity along Greenland fjords

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Boghosian, Alexandra; Tinto, Kirsty; Cochran, James R.; Porter, David; Elieff, Stefan; Burton, Bethany; Bell, Robin E.

    2015-01-01

    Recent glacier mass loss in Greenland has been attributed to encroaching warming waters, but knowledge of fjord bathymetry is required to investigate this mechanism. The bathymetry in many Greenland fjords is unmapped and difficult to measure. From 2010 to 2012, National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Operation IceBridge collected a unique set of airborne gravity, magnetic, radar, and lidar data along the major outlet glaciers and fjords in Greenland. We applied a consistent technique using the IceBridge gravity data to create 90 bathymetric profiles along 54 Greenland fjords. We also used this technique to recover subice topography where warm or crevassed ice prevents the radar system from imaging the bed. Here we discuss our methodology, basic assumptions and error analysis. We present the new bathymetry data and discuss observations in six major regions of Greenland covered by IceBridge. The gravity models provide a total of 1950 line kilometers of bathymetry, 875 line kilometers of subice topography, and 12 new grounding line depths.

  10. Resolving bathymetry from airborne gravity along Greenland fjords

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boghosian, Alexandra; Tinto, Kirsty; Cochran, James R.; Porter, David; Elieff, Stefan; Burton, Bethany L.; Bell, Robin E.

    2015-12-01

    Recent glacier mass loss in Greenland has been attributed to encroaching warming waters, but knowledge of fjord bathymetry is required to investigate this mechanism. The bathymetry in many Greenland fjords is unmapped and difficult to measure. From 2010 to 2012, National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Operation IceBridge collected a unique set of airborne gravity, magnetic, radar, and lidar data along the major outlet glaciers and fjords in Greenland. We applied a consistent technique using the IceBridge gravity data to create 90 bathymetric profiles along 54 Greenland fjords. We also used this technique to recover subice topography where warm or crevassed ice prevents the radar system from imaging the bed. Here we discuss our methodology, basic assumptions and error analysis. We present the new bathymetry data and discuss observations in six major regions of Greenland covered by IceBridge. The gravity models provide a total of 1950 line kilometers of bathymetry, 875 line kilometers of subice topography, and 12 new grounding line depths.

  11. Simulations of the Greenland ice sheet 100 years into the future with the full Stokes model Elmer/Ice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seddik, H.; Greve, R.; Zwinger, T.; Gillet-Chaulet, F.; Gagliardini, O.

    2011-12-01

    The full Stokes thermo-mechanically coupled model Elmer/Ice is applied to the Greenland ice sheet. Elmer/Ice employs the finite element method to solve the full Stokes equations, the temperature evolution equation and the evolution equation of the free surface. The general framework of this modeling effort is a contribution to the Sea-level Response to Ice Sheet Evolution (SeaRISE) assessment project, a community-organized effort to estimate the likely range of ice sheet contributions to sea level rise over the next few hundred years (http://tinyurl.com/srise-lanl, http://tinyurl.com/srise-umt). The present geometry (surface and basal topographies) is derived from data where the basal topography was created with the preservation of the troughs at the Jakobshavn Ice Stream, Helheim, Kangerdlussuaq and Petermann glaciers. A mesh of the computational domain is created using an initial footprint which contains elements of 5 km horizontal resolution and to limit the number elements on the footprint while maximizing the spatial resolution, an anisotropic mesh adaptation scheme is employed based on the Hessian matrix of the observed surface velocities. The adaptation is carried out with the tool YAMS and the final footprint is vertically extruded to form a 3D mesh of 320880 elements with 17 equidistant, terrain-following layers. The numerical solution of the Stokes and the heat transfer equations employs direct solvers with stabilization procedures. The boundary conditions are such that the temperature at the surface uses the present-day mean annual air temperature given by a parameterization or directly from the available data, the geothermal heat flux at the bedrock is given by data and the lateral sides are open boundaries. A non-linear Weertman law is used for the basal sliding. Results for the SeaRISE 2011 sensitivity experiments are presented so that six different experiments have been conducted, grouped in two sets. The Set C (three experiments) applies a change to

  12. Glaciers of Europe

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Ferrigno, Jane G.

    1993-01-01

    ALPS: AUSTRIAN: An overview is provided on the occurrence of the glaciers in the Eastern Alps of Austria and on the climatic conditions in this area, Historical documents on the glaciers have been available since the Middle Ages. Special glaciological observations and topographic surveys of individual glaciers were initiated as early as 1846. Recent data in an inventory based on aerial photographs taken in 1969 show 925 glaciers in the Austrian Alps with a total area of 542 square kilometers. Present research topics include studies of mass and energy balance, relations of glaciers and climate, physical glaciology, a complete inventory of the glaciers, and testing of remote sensing methods. The location of the glacier areas is shown on Landsat multispectral scanner images; the improved capabilities of the Landsat thematic mapper are illustrated with an example from the Oztaler Alpen group. ALPS: SWISS: According to a glacier inventory published in 1976, which is based on aerial photography of 1973, there are 1,828 glacier units in the Swiss Alps that cover a total area of 1fl42 square kilometers. The Rhonegletscher, currently the ninth largest in the country, was one of the first to be studied in detail. Its surface has been surveyed repeatedly; velocity profiles were measured, and the fluctuations of its terminus were mapped and recorded from 1874 to 1914. Recent research on the glacier has included climatological, hydrological, and massbalance studies. Glaciological research has been conducted on various other glaciers in Switzerland concerning glacier hydrology, glacier hazards, fluctuations of glacier termini, ice mechanics, ice cores, and mass balance. Good maps are available showing the extent of glaciers from the latter decades of the 19th century. More recently, the entire country has been mapped at scales of 1:25,000, 1:50,000, 1:100,000, 1:200,000, and 1:500,000. The 1:25,000-scale series very accurately represents the glaciers as well as locates

  13. Seismic Network in Greenland Monitors Earth and Ice System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clinton, John F.; Nettles, Meredith; Walter, Fabian; Anderson, Kent; Dahl-Jensen, Trine; Giardini, Domenico; Govoni, Aladino; Hanka, Winfried; Lasocki, Stanislaw; Lee, Won Sang; McCormack, David; Mykkeltveit, Svein; Stutzmann, Eleonore; Tsuboi, Seiji

    2014-01-01

    Some of the most dramatic effects of climate change have been observed in the Earth's polar regions. In Greenland, ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet has accelerated in recent years [Shepherd et al., 2012]. Outlet glaciers are changing their behavior rapidly, with many thinning, retreating, and accelerating [Joughin et al., 2004]. The loss of ice weighing on the crust and mantle below has allowed both to rebound, resulting in high rock uplift rates [Bevis et al., 2012]. Changes in ice cover and meltwater production influence sea level and climate feedbacks; they are expected to contribute to increasing vulnerability to geohazards such as landslides, flooding, and extreme weather.

  14. Updating the results of glacier contribution to the sea level change

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dyurgerov, Mark B.; Abdalati, Waleed Dr. (Technical Monitor)

    2005-01-01

    I have completed an update of global glacier volume change. All data of glacier annual mass balances, surface area over the period 1945/46 till 2004, outside the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets were included in this update. As the result global glacier volume change have been calculated, also in terms of glacier contribution to sea level change. These results were sent to Working Group 1 and 2 of IPCC-4 as the basis for modeling of sea level towards the end of 2100. In this study I have concentrated on studying glacier systems of different scales, from primary (e.g. Devon ice cap) to regional (e.g. Canadian Arctic), continental scale (e,g., entire Arctic), and global (e.g., change in glacier volume and contribution to sea level rise).

  15. Storage and release of organic carbon from glaciers and ice sheets

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hood, Eran; Battin, Tom J.; Fellman, Jason; O'Neel, Shad; Spencer, Robert G. M.

    2015-01-01

    Polar ice sheets and mountain glaciers, which cover roughly 11% of the Earth's land surface, store organic carbon from local and distant sources and then release it to downstream environments. Climate-driven changes to glacier runoff are expected to be larger than climate impacts on other components of the hydrological cycle, and may represent an important flux of organic carbon. A compilation of published data on dissolved organic carbon from glaciers across five continents reveals that mountain and polar glaciers represent a quantitatively important store of organic carbon. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is the repository of most of the roughly 6 petagrams (Pg) of organic carbon stored in glacier ice, but the annual release of glacier organic carbon is dominated by mountain glaciers in the case of dissolved organic carbon and the Greenland Ice Sheet in the case of particulate organic carbon. Climate change contributes to these fluxes: approximately 13% of the annual flux of glacier dissolved organic carbon is a result of glacier mass loss. These losses are expected to accelerate, leading to a cumulative loss of roughly 15 teragrams (Tg) of glacial dissolved organic carbon by 2050 due to climate change — equivalent to about half of the annual flux of dissolved organic carbon from the Amazon River. Thus, glaciers constitute a key link between terrestrial and aquatic carbon fluxes, and will be of increasing importance in land-to-ocean fluxes of organic carbon in glacierized regions.

  16. Variations in Alaska tidewater glacier frontal ablation, 1985-2013

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNabb, R. W.; Hock, R.; Huss, M.

    2015-01-01

    Our incomplete knowledge of the proportion of mass loss due to frontal ablation (the sum of ice loss through calving and submarine melt) from tidewater glaciers outside of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets has been cited as a major hindrance to accurate predictions of global sea level rise. We present a 28 year record (1985-2013) of frontal ablation for 27 Alaska tidewater glaciers (representing 96% of the total tidewater glacier area in the region), calculated from satellite-derived ice velocities and modeled estimates of glacier ice thickness. We account for cross-sectional ice thickness variation, long-term thickness changes, mass lost between an upstream fluxgate and the terminus, and mass change due to changes in terminus position. The total mean rate of frontal ablation for these 27 glaciers over the period 1985-2013 is 15.11 ± 3.63Gta-1. Two glaciers, Hubbard and Columbia, account for approximately 50% of these losses. The regional total ablation has decreased at a rate of 0.14Gta-1 over this time period, likely due to the slowing and thinning of many of the glaciers in the study area. Frontal ablation constitutes only ˜4% of the total annual regional ablation, but roughly 20% of net mass loss. Comparing several commonly used approximations in the calculation of frontal ablation, we find that neglecting cross-sectional thickness variations severely underestimates frontal ablation.

  17. Glacier calving, dynamics, and sea-level rise. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Meier, M.F.; Pfeffer, W.T.; Amadei, B.

    1998-08-01

    The present-day calving flux from Greenland and Antarctica is poorly known, and this accounts for a significant portion of the uncertainty in the current mass balance of these ice sheets. Similarly, the lack of knowledge about the role of calving in glacier dynamics constitutes a major uncertainty in predicting the response of glaciers and ice sheets to changes in climate and thus sea level. Another fundamental problem has to do with incomplete knowledge of glacier areas and volumes, needed for analyses of sea-level change due to changing climate. The authors proposed to develop an improved ability to predict the future contributions of glaciers to sea level by combining work from four research areas: remote sensing observations of calving activity and iceberg flux, numerical modeling of glacier dynamics, theoretical analysis of the calving process, and numerical techniques for modeling flow with large deformations and fracture. These four areas have never been combined into a single research effort on this subject; in particular, calving dynamics have never before been included explicitly in a model of glacier dynamics. A crucial issue that they proposed to address was the general question of how calving dynamics and glacier flow dynamics interact.

  18. Glaciers: A water resource

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Meier, Mark; Post, Austin

    1995-01-01

    Most Americans have never seen a glacier, and most would say that glaciers are rare features found only in inaccessible, isolated wilderness mountains. Are they really so rare? Or are they really potentially important sources of water supply?

  19. Airborne Geophysics and Remote Sensing Applied to Study Greenland Ice Dynamics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Csatho, Beata M.

    2003-01-01

    Overview of project: we combined and jointly analysed geophysical, remote sensing and glaciological data for investigating the temporal changes in ice flow and the role of geologic control on glacial drainage. The project included two different studies, the investigation of recent changes of the Kangerlussuaq glacier and the study of geologic control of ice flow in NW Greenland, around the Humboldt, Petermann and Ryder glaciers.

  20. Ice discharge from north and northeast Greenland using ERS data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rignot, Eric

    1997-01-01

    Ice discharge from north and northeast Greenland glaciers was calculated at the grounding line using ERS radar interferometry data acquired during the tandem phase. The resulting estimates exceed the production of icebergs at the glacier fronts by a factor of 3.5. This large decrease in ice flux is attributed to extensive melting at the underside of the floating sections. When compared to the predicted grounding line ice discharge of an ice sheet in balance, the results show an excess of 28 cubic km/yr of ice lost to the ocean. The north and northeast sectors of the Greenland ice sheet are therefore thinning and contributing positively to sea-level rise.

  1. Paleofluvial landscape inheritance for Jakobshavn Isbræ catchment, Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooper, M. A.; Michaelides, K.; Siegert, M. J.; Bamber, J. L.

    2016-06-01

    Subglacial topography exerts strong controls on glacier dynamics, influencing the orientation and velocity of ice flow, as well as modulating the distribution of basal waters and sediment. Bed geometry can also provide a long-term record of geomorphic processes, allowing insight into landscape evolution, the origin of which may predate ice sheet inception. Here we present evidence from ice-penetrating radar data for a large dendritic drainage network, radiating inland from Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland's largest outlet glacier. The size of the drainage basin is ˜450,000 km2 and accounts for about 20% of the total land area of Greenland. Topographic and basin morphometric analyses of an isostatically uplifted (ice-free) bedrock topography suggests that this catchment predates ice sheet initiation and has likely been instrumental in controlling the location and form of the Jakobshavn ice stream, and ice flow from the deep interior to the margin, now and over several glacial cycles.

  2. Glacier Ecosystems of Himalaya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohshima, S.; Yoshimura, Y.; Takeuchi, N.; Segawa, T.; Uetake, J.

    2012-12-01

    Biological activity on glaciers has been believed to be extremely limited. However, we found various biotic communities specialized to the glacier environment in various part of the world, such as Himalaya, Patagonia and Alaska. Some of these glacier hosted biotic communities including various cold-tolerant insects, annelids and copepods that were living in the glacier by feeding on algae and bacteria growing in the snow and ice. Thus, the glaciers are simple and relatively closed ecosystems sustained by the primary production in the snow and ice. In this presentation, we will briefly introduce glacier ecosystems in Himalaya; ecology and behavior of glacier animals, altitudinal zonation of snow algal communities, and the structure of their habitats in the glacier. Since the microorganisms growing on the glacier surface are stored in the glacial strata every year, ice-core samples contain many layers with these microorganisms. We showed that the snow algae in the ice-core are useful for ice core dating and could be new environmental signals for the studies on past environment using ice cores. These microorganisms in the ice core will be important especially in the studies of ice core from the glaciers of warmer regions, in which chemical and isotopic contents are often heavily disturbed by melt water percolation. Blooms of algae and bacteria on the glacier can reduce the surface albedo and significantly affect the glacier melting. For example, the surface albedo of some Himalayan glaciers was significantly reduced by a large amount of dark-colored biogenic material (cryoconite) derived from snow algae and bacteria. It increased the melting rates of the surfaces by as much as three-fold. Thus, it was suggested that the microbial activity on the glacier could affect the mass balance and fluctuation of the glaciers.

  3. Multi-Frequency Airborne Radar Measurements of Outlet Glaciers and Ice Streams

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gogineni, P. S.; Braaten, D. A.; Rodriguez-Morales, F.; Li, J.; Leuschen, C.; Paden, J. D.; Hale, R.; Arnold, E.; Panzer, B.; Gomez-Garcia, D.; Crowe, R.; Patel, A. E.; Yan, J.

    2012-12-01

    Outlet glaciers and ice streams in Greenland and Antarctica are important delivery systems of inland ice to the oceans. Satellite observations are showing that parts of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are undergoing rapid changes, including both speed-up of several glaciers in Greenland and erratic behavior of Antarctic glaciers buttressed by ice shelves. While satellite sensors provide data on the surface flow speed and document the rapid changes the ice sheets are undergoing, they do not provide the essential information needed to understand the ice dynamics driving these changes or a detailed assessment of mass balance. In particular, a more complete knowledge of ice thickness, bed topography, and basal conditions are needed to better understand the dynamic processes causing rapid changes, assess outlet glacier discharge, and assess future discharge potential. Simultaneous measurements of snow accumulation from internal layering over the glacier catchment provide an assessment of temporally-varying surface mass balance. We developed a radar instrumentation package that can be operated both on long-range and short-range aircraft. This package includes four radars operating over a frequency range of about 180 MHz to 18 GHz. These are: (1) a wideband radar depth sounder that operates at a center frequency of 195 MHz to sound and image ice; (2) an ultra-wideband radar that operates over a frequency range of 600 to 900 MHz to map near-surface internal layers in polar firn and ice; (3) an ultra-wideband microwave radar that operates over a frequency range of about 2 to 8 GHz to measure the thickness of snow cover over sea ice and map near-surface internal layers in polar firn with fine resolution of about 5 cm; and (4) a radar altimeter that operates over a frequency range of 12 to 18 GHz for high-precision surface elevation measurements. During the last three years, these radars have been flown on several different aircraft over the Greenland and Antarctic ice

  4. Glacier response to North Atlantic climate variability during the Holocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balascio, N. L.; D'Andrea, W. J.; Bradley, R. S.

    2015-12-01

    Small glaciers and ice caps respond rapidly to climate variations, and records of their past extent provide information on the natural envelope of past climate variability. Millennial-scale trends in Holocene glacier size are well documented and correspond with changes in Northern Hemisphere summer insolation. However, there is only sparse and fragmentary evidence for higher-frequency variations in glacier size because in many Northern Hemisphere regions glacier advances of the past few hundred years were the most extensive and destroyed the geomorphic evidence of ice growth and retreat during the past several thousand years. Thus, most glacier records have been of limited use for investigating centennial-scale climate forcing and feedback mechanisms. Here we report a continuous record of glacier activity for the last 9.5 ka from southeast Greenland derived from high-resolution measurements on a proglacial lake sediment sequence. Physical and geochemical parameters show that the glaciers responded to previously documented Northern Hemisphere climatic excursions, including the "8.2 ka" cooling event, the Holocene Thermal Maximum, Neoglacial cooling, and 20th century warming. In addition, the sediments indicate centennial-scale oscillations in glacier size during the late Holocene. Beginning at 4.1 ka, a series of abrupt glacier advances occurred, each lasting ~100 years and followed by a period of retreat, that were superimposed on a gradual trend toward larger glacier size. Thus, while declining summer insolation caused long-term cooling and glacier expansion during the late Holocene, climate system dynamics resulted in repeated episodes of glacier expansion and retreat on multi-decadal to centennial timescales. These episodes coincided with ice rafting events in the North Atlantic Ocean and periods of regional ice cap expansion, which confirms their regional significance and indicates that considerable glacier activity on these timescales is a normal feature of

  5. Use of Glacial Fronts by Narwhals (Monodon monoceros) in West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laidre, K. L.

    2015-12-01

    Glacial fronts in Greenland are known to be important summer habitat for narwhals (Monodon monoceros), as freshwater runoff and sediment discharge may aggregate prey at the terminus. We investigated the importance of glacial habitat characteristics in determining narwhal visitation. Narwhals (n=18) were instrumented with satellite transmitters in September 1993-1994 and 2006-2007 in Melville Bay, West Greenland. Daily narwhal locations were interpolated using a correlated random walk based on observed filtered locations and associated positional error. We also compiled a database on physical features of 41 glaciers along the northwest Greenland coast. This covered the entire coastal region with narwhal activity. Parameters included glacier ice velocity (km/yr) from radar satellite data, glacier front advance and retreat, and glacier width (km) at the ice-ocean interface derived using front position data digitized from 20-100m resolution radar image mosaics and Landsat imagery. We also quantified relative volumes and extent of glacial ice discharge, thickness of the glacial ice at the terminus (m), and water depth at the terminus (m) from gravity and airborne radar data, sediment flux from satellite-based analysis, and freshwater runoff from a regional atmospheric climate model (RACMO2.3). We quantified whale visits to glaciers at three distances (5, 7, and 10 km) and conducted proximity analyses on annual and monthly time steps. We estimated 1) narwhal presence or absence, 2) the number of 24 h periods spent at glaciers, and 3) the fraction of study animals that visited each glacier. The use of glacial habitat by narwhals expanded to the north and south between the 1990s (n=9 unique glaciers visited) and the 2000s (n=30 visited), likely due to loss of summer fast ice and later fall freeze-up trends (3.5 weeks later since 1979). We used a generalized linear mixed effects framework to quantify the glacier and fjord habitat characteristics preferred by narwhals.

  6. Atlantic water intrusions linked to NAO modulate Greenland Ice Sheet discharge dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christoffersen, Poul; Mugford, Ruth; Seale, Anthony; Heywood, Karen; Joughin, Ian; Dowdeswell, Julian; Syvitski, James; Luckman, Adrian

    2010-05-01

    Major outlet glaciers in the Greenland Ice Sheet have experienced rapid fluctuations in speed and discharge over the last decade. The triggering mechanism of abrupt speed-up events is not firmly established, but synchronous occurrences and numerical simulations of response dynamics suggest an oceanographic cause. Here, we show that warm Atlantic water was present inside Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord, East Greenland, a few months before the sudden retreat of Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier in 2004. Using temperature and salinity from the ¼ degree NEMO ocean model and hydrographic data collected in previous years, we show that inflow of warm, saline Atlantic water to the East Greenland continental shelf may be a seasonal mechanism and that the extent and coastal proximity of Atlantic water intrusions may be governed by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). To investigate the possible impact of these intrusions, we developed an automated procedure for identifying calving margins from MODIS data (2000-2008), allowing for the delineation of calving margins in 100,000+ images of East Greenland. This region-wide assessment of glacier fluctuations showed rapid retreat by an average of 2.9 km over 2001 to 2005 for the glaciers exposed to Atlantic water intrusions opposed to average retreat of just 0.3 km for glaciers unaffected by such inflows. The modeled extent of Atlantic water intrusions and the mapped extent of rapid glacier change are consistent with the recent attribution of sustained mass losses in southeast Greenland to increased discharge. Although our data suggest that NAO impacts on ice sheet discharge could be large, they also show that the influence is geographically confined.

  7. Linking the spatial variability of glacier mass loss to fjord geometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porter, D. F.; Tinto, K. J.; Boghosian, A.; Cochran, J. R.; Csatho, B. M.; Bell, R. E.

    2015-12-01

    There is compelling evidence of increasing mass loss of the ice sheets using a diverse set of observations, including increased thinning rates measured from both airborne and satellite altimeters, elevated mass fluxes resulting from the acceleration of outlet glaciers, and mass changes measured directly from satellite gravimetry. A dominant characteristic of observed change in Greenland outlet glaciers is that it is locally random. Numerous studies have revealed a high degree of spatial and temporal variability of outlet glacier mass change. Modeling studies suggest that increased ocean temperatures may be responsible for the observed glacial retreat in Greenland through increased basal melting, leading to increased calving rates, terminus retreat, glacier speedup, and eventually thinning of inland ice. Knowledge of fjord geometry is crucial for ice-ocean interaction because the availability of ocean heat to the ice will be restricted by narrow sills and shallow grounding lines. We investigate whether the variability in observed changes among Greenland glaciers can be partially explained by variation in fjord geometry. Using statistical techniques commonly employed to detect patterns in complex spatial data, we objectively show that mass change in Greenland tidewater glaciers between 2003 and 2009 is indeed mostly spatially incoherent. Except for a few clusters of similar change in the NW and Scoresby Sund regions, there is significant glacier-scale variability in mass loss rates. To understand the drivers of this local variability, we compare fjord bathymetries from all regions of Greenland, modeled using airborne gravimetry measurements from NASA Operation IceBridge flights, to estimates of glaciological change. Specifically, we investigate the correlation between water depths at the grounding line and the dynamic mass loss of tidewater glaciers. In theory, a deep grounding line will allow greater interaction with the warm Atlantic Water observed in most fjords

  8. Stable microbial community composition on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    PubMed

    Musilova, Michaela; Tranter, Martyn; Bennett, Sarah A; Wadham, Jemma; Anesio, Alexandre M

    2015-01-01

    The first molecular-based studies of microbes in snow and on glaciers have only recently been performed on the vast Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). Aeolian microbial seeding is hypothesized to impact on glacier surface community compositions. Localized melting of glacier debris (cryoconite) into the surface ice forms cryoconite holes, which are considered 'hot spots' for microbial activity on glaciers. To date, few studies have attempted to assess the origin and evolution of cryoconite and cryoconite hole communities throughout a melt season. In this study, a range of experimental approaches was used for the first time to study the inputs, temporal and structural transformations of GrIS microbial communities over the course of a whole ablation season. Small amounts of aeolian (wind and snow) microbes were potentially seeding the stable communities that were already present on the glacier (composed mainly of Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria, and Actinobacteria). However, the dominant bacterial taxa in the aeolian samples (Firmicutes) did not establish themselves in local glacier surface communities. Cryoconite and cryoconite hole community composition remained stable throughout the ablation season following the fast community turnover, which accompanied the initial snow melt. The presence of stable communities in cryoconite and cryoconite holes on the GrIS will allow future studies to assess glacier surface microbial diversity at individual study sites from sampling intervals of short duration only. Aeolian inputs also had significantly different organic δ(13)C values (-28.0 to -27.0‰) from the glacier surface values (-25.7 to -23.6‰), indicating that in situ microbial processes are important in fixing new organic matter and transforming aeolian organic carbon. The continuous productivity of stable communities over one melt season makes them important contributors to biogeochemical nutrient cycling on glaciers. PMID:25852658

  9. High Sensitivity of Tidewater Glacier Dynamics to Shape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Enderlin, E. M.; Howat, I. M.; Vieli, A.

    2012-12-01

    Tidewater outlet glaciers in close proximity to each other, and therefore likely exposed to similar external forcing, display contrasting dynamic behavior. This variability has been attributed to differences in outlet shape (i.e., bed elevation and width), but this dependence has not been investigated in detail. We apply a one-dimensional (depth-integrated, flow-line) numerical ice flow model to glaciers of varying width and bed topography, based on observations from Greenland, and compare their response to perturbation at the calving front, designed to simulate a reduction in buttressing. Each glacier is initially grounded on a shoal, immediately seaward of a basal depression, and perturbed from steady state by increasing the strain rate across the calving front. Following this perturbation, all glaciers undergo initial retreat and thinning as the glacier geometry adjusts to the new stress balance. Narrower glaciers and those with higher shoals tend to reach a new steady state before they become ungrounded from the shoal, resulting in little total retreat and thinning. On the other hand, wider glaciers and those with deeper shoals are initially closer to flotation, so that thinning results in ungrounding over the basal depression and rapid, unstable retreat. Once triggered, along-flow differences in outlet shape influence both the timing and magnitude of this retreat. The difference in initial thickness between several glaciers that remain stable and those that undergo unstable retreat is on the order of 10's of meters, and small (< 35 m) changes in bed height can result in switching from stable to unstable retreat. Since these differences are similar to the resolution of ice thickness measurements, it is unclear whether observations can adequately constrain prognostic models of glacier dynamics.

  10. Greenland ice sheet motion insensitive to exceptional meltwater forcing.

    PubMed

    Tedstone, Andrew J; Nienow, Peter W; Sole, Andrew J; Mair, Douglas W F; Cowton, Thomas R; Bartholomew, Ian D; King, Matt A

    2013-12-01

    Changes to the dynamics of the Greenland ice sheet can be forced by various mechanisms including surface-melt-induced ice acceleration and oceanic forcing of marine-terminating glaciers. We use observations of ice motion to examine the surface melt-induced dynamic response of a land-terminating outlet glacier in southwest Greenland to the exceptional melting observed in 2012. During summer, meltwater generated on the Greenland ice sheet surface accesses the ice sheet bed, lubricating basal motion and resulting in periods of faster ice flow. However, the net impact of varying meltwater volumes upon seasonal and annual ice flow, and thus sea level rise, remains unclear. We show that two extreme melt events (98.6% of the Greenland ice sheet surface experienced melting on July 12, the most significant melt event since 1889, and 79.2% on July 29) and summer ice sheet runoff ~3.9 σ above the 1958-2011 mean resulted in enhanced summer ice motion relative to the average melt year of 2009. However, despite record summer melting, subsequent reduced winter ice motion resulted in 6% less net annual ice motion in 2012 than in 2009. Our findings suggest that surface melt-induced acceleration of land-terminating regions of the ice sheet will remain insignificant even under extreme melting scenarios. PMID:24248343

  11. A high-resolution record of Greenland mass balance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McMillan, Malcolm; Leeson, Amber; Shepherd, Andrew; Briggs, Kate; Armitage, Thomas W. K.; Hogg, Anna; Kuipers Munneke, Peter; Broeke, Michiel; Noël, Brice; Berg, Willem Jan; Ligtenberg, Stefan; Horwath, Martin; Groh, Andreas; Muir, Alan; Gilbert, Lin

    2016-07-01

    We map recent Greenland Ice Sheet elevation change at high spatial (5 km) and temporal (monthly) resolution using CryoSat-2 altimetry. After correcting for the impact of changing snowpack properties associated with unprecedented surface melting in 2012, we find good agreement (3 cm/yr bias) with airborne measurements. With the aid of regional climate and firn modeling, we compute high spatial and temporal resolution records of Greenland mass evolution, which correlate (R = 0.96) with monthly satellite gravimetry and reveal glacier dynamic imbalance. During 2011-2014, Greenland mass loss averaged 269 ± 51 Gt/yr. Atmospherically driven losses were widespread, with surface melt variability driving large fluctuations in the annual mass deficit. Terminus regions of five dynamically thinning glaciers, which constitute less than 1% of Greenland's area, contributed more than 12% of the net ice loss. This high-resolution record demonstrates that mass deficits extending over small spatial and temporal scales have made a relatively large contribution to recent ice sheet imbalance.

  12. Extensive dynamic thinning on the margins of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

    PubMed

    Pritchard, Hamish D; Arthern, Robert J; Vaughan, David G; Edwards, Laura A

    2009-10-15

    Many glaciers along the margins of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are accelerating and, for this reason, contribute increasingly to global sea-level rise. Globally, ice losses contribute approximately 1.8 mm yr(-1) (ref. 8), but this could increase if the retreat of ice shelves and tidewater glaciers further enhances the loss of grounded ice or initiates the large-scale collapse of vulnerable parts of the ice sheets. Ice loss as a result of accelerated flow, known as dynamic thinning, is so poorly understood that its potential contribution to sea level over the twenty-first century remains unpredictable. Thinning on the ice-sheet scale has been monitored by using repeat satellite altimetry observations to track small changes in surface elevation, but previous sensors could not resolve most fast-flowing coastal glaciers. Here we report the use of high-resolution ICESat (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite) laser altimetry to map change along the entire grounded margins of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. To isolate the dynamic signal, we compare rates of elevation change from both fast-flowing and slow-flowing ice with those expected from surface mass-balance fluctuations. We find that dynamic thinning of glaciers now reaches all latitudes in Greenland, has intensified on key Antarctic grounding lines, has endured for decades after ice-shelf collapse, penetrates far into the interior of each ice sheet and is spreading as ice shelves thin by ocean-driven melt. In Greenland, glaciers flowing faster than 100 m yr(-1) thinned at an average rate of 0.84 m yr(-1), and in the Amundsen Sea embayment of Antarctica, thinning exceeded 9.0 m yr(-1) for some glaciers. Our results show that the most profound changes in the ice sheets currently result from glacier dynamics at ocean margins. PMID:19776741

  13. Irreversible mass loss of Canadian Arctic Archipelago glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lenaerts, Jan T. M.; Angelen, Jan H.; Broeke, Michiel R.; Gardner, Alex S.; Wouters, Bert; Meijgaard, Erik

    2013-03-01

    The Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) contains the largest volume of glacier ice on Earth outside of Antarctica and Greenland. In the absence of significant calving, CAA glacier mass balance is governed by the difference between surface snow accumulation and meltwater runoff—surface mass balance. Here we use a coupled atmosphere/snow model to simulate present-day and 21st century CAA glacier surface mass balance. Through comparison with Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment mass anomalies and in situ observations, we show that the model is capable of representing present-day CAA glacier mass loss, as well as the dynamics of the seasonal snow cover on the CAA tundra. Next, we force this model until 2100 with a moderate climate warming scenario (AR5 RCP4.5). We show that enhanced meltwater runoff from CAA glaciers is not sufficiently compensated by increased snowfall. Extrapolation of these results toward an AR5 multimodel ensemble results in sustained 21st century CAA glacier mass loss in the vast majority (>99%) of the ~7000 temperature realizations.

  14. Glaciers of Asia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Ferrigno, Jane G.

    2010-01-01

    This chapter is the ninth to be released in U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1386, Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World, a series of 11 chapters. In each of the geographic area chapters, remotely sensed images, primarily from the Landsat 1, 2, and 3 series of spacecraft, are used to analyze the specific glacierized region of our planet under consideration and to monitor glacier changes. Landsat images, acquired primarily during the middle to late 1970s and early 1980s, were used by an international team of glaciologists and other scientists to study various geographic regions and (or) to discuss related glaciological topics. In each glacierized geographic region, the present areal distribution of glaciers is compared, wherever possible, with historical information about their past extent. The atlas provides an accurate regional inventory of the areal extent of glacier ice on our planet during the 1970s as part of a growing international scientific effort to measure global environmental change on the Earth?s surface. The chapter is divided into seven geographic parts and one topical part: Glaciers of the Former Soviet Union (F-1), Glaciers of China (F-2), Glaciers of Afghanistan (F?3), Glaciers of Pakistan (F-4), Glaciers of India (F-5), Glaciers of Nepal (F?6), Glaciers of Bhutan (F-7), and the Paleoenvironmental Record Preserved in Middle-Latitude, High-Mountain Glaciers (F-8). Each geographic section describes the glacier extent during the 1970s and 1980s, the benchmark time period (1972-1981) of this volume, but has been updated to include more recent information. Glaciers of the Former Soviet Union are located in the Russian Arctic and various mountain ranges of Russia and the Republics of Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakstun. The Glacier Inventory of the USSR and the World Atlas of Ice and Snow Resources recorded a total of 28,881 glaciers covering an area of 78,938 square kilometers (km2). China includes many of the mountain-glacier

  15. Exploring glacial change - flying in the tailwind of the early 20th century Greenland explorers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bjork, A. A.; Kjaer, K.; Kjeldsen, K. K.; Larsen, N. K.; Korsgaard, N. J.; Khan, S. A.

    2013-12-01

    In the early 1930s Greenlandic explorers and scientists began using airplanes as an effective mean of surveying and mapping the hitherto unknown and inaccessible lands. By replacing the dogsled and the drawing board with the seaplane and camera, huge areas could now be covered. Here in the 21st Century the photographs now serve as a snapshot of the state of the glaciers, and possess unique scientific value as they stand as the first testimony of hundreds of Greenlandic glaciers. In the summer of 2013, we flew in the paths of the early flights and captured the changes that occurred during the last 80 years. To revisit all the historic glaciers would be a near impossible, not to mention extremely expensive task, so we targeted the most important glaciers in terms of present mass loss as well as the most aesthetically appealing historical images. The result is a then-and-now comparison that vividly captures both the raw beauty of the land and the ongoing often dramatic glacial changes. As the historic flights covered nearly half the Greenlandic coast line, we capture both areas of massive retreat and areas of still stand and even advance. The Heinkel Seaplane is being prepared for a photo flight in southeast Greenland in 1933. Flying an open plane in 14.000 ft and -40 °C called for a special breed of pilots.

  16. Grounding line migration of Petermann Gletscher, north Greenland, detected using satellite radar interferometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rignot, Eric

    1997-01-01

    Ice Sheet grounding lines are sensitive indicator of changes in ice thickness, sea level or elevation of the sea bed. Here, we use the synthetic-aperture radar interferometry technique to detect the migration of thel imit of tidal flexing, or hinge line, of Petermann Gletscher, a major outlet glacier of north Greenland which develops an extensive floating tongue.

  17. A Comparison of Seismic Records of Calving Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walter, Fabian; Amundson, Jason M.; O'Neel, Shad; Clinton, John F.; Luethi, Martin P.; Bassis, Jeremy; Fricker, Helen Amanda

    2010-05-01

    Glacier calving is a key process in the cryosphere's contribution to sea level rise. It is responsible for virtually all of Antarctica's ice mass loss to the ocean and about half of Greenland's negative mass balance. As glacier calving is a highly complicated and variable phenomenon, its physical laws are poorly understood. For this reason "dynamical mass loss" is one of the critical mechanisms that have yet to be incorporated into large-scale ice sheet models that aim to predict future sea level variations. As calving environments are almost always difficult to access, data pertaining to calving processes are usually gathered remotely. Seismometers have recently proven to be a valuable tool for studying calving, even though they may be located far away from the calving front. Pre-existing global and regional seismic networks thus constitute a valuable resource for the study of glacier calving as they allow for automatic detection and monitoring of calving activity. Various sources occurring nearly simultaneously give rise to calving seismicity. Potential source mechanisms include fracturing, hydraulic transients, glacier acceleration, ocean wave action, and icebergs scraping the fjord walls, bottom, or terminus. Fracturing and hydraulic transients emit seismic energy above 1 Hz and are only recorded locally, whereas glacier acceleration, iceberg scraping, and ocean waves may produce waveforms with periods of 100's or 1000's of seconds and can be recorded by far-field seismometers. We present examples of such low-frequency seismicity from Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland, and Columbia and Yahtse Glaciers, Alaska. Finally, we discuss the possibility of remotely investigating calving behavior by comparing the seismic signature of individual calving events from different glaciological settings.

  18. The thermophysics of glaciers

    SciTech Connect

    Zotikov, I.A.

    1986-01-01

    This volume presents the results of experimental and theoretical work on the thermodynamics of ice sheets and glaciers. The author has carried out extensive field work in both the Soviet Union and Antarctica over the last 25 years and has contributed to the understanding of the thermophysics of glaciers. The topics covered in this volume embrace heat flow measurement and temperature distributions in glaciers, the thermal drilling of glaciers, the melting and freezing of ice sheets, and other thermophysical problems. Also included are topics of relevance to glacial engineering.

  19. Modeling of Store Gletscher's calving dynamics, West Greenland, in response to ocean thermal forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morlighem, M.; Bondzio, J.; Seroussi, H.; Rignot, E.; Larour, E.; Humbert, A.; Rebuffi, S.

    2016-03-01

    Glacier-front dynamics is an important control on Greenland's ice mass balance. Warmer ocean waters trigger ice-front retreats of marine-terminating glaciers, and the corresponding loss in resistive stress leads to glacier acceleration and thinning. Here we present an approach to quantify the sensitivity and vulnerability of marine-terminating glaciers to ocean-induced melt. We develop a plan view model of Store Gletscher that includes a level set-based moving boundary capability, a parameterized ocean-induced melt, and a calving law with complete and precise land and fjord topographies to model the response of the glacier to increased melt. We find that the glacier is stabilized by a sill at its terminus. The glacier is dislodged from the sill when ocean-induced melt quadruples, at which point the glacier retreats irreversibly for 27 km into a reverse bed. The model suggests that ice-ocean interactions are the triggering mechanism of glacier retreat, but the bed controls its magnitude.

  20. Meltwater chemistry and solute export from a Greenland Ice Sheet catchment, Watson River, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yde, Jacob C.; Knudsen, N. Tvis; Hasholt, Bent; Mikkelsen, Andreas B.

    2014-11-01

    Solute export from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) to coastal regions around Greenland is likely to increase in the future as a consequence of increasing icemelt production. Here, we present hydrochemical characteristics, solute and major ion exports and chemical denudation rates for 2007-2010 for the Watson River sector of the GrIS that drains into the fjord Kangerlussuaq. The hydrochemistry is dominated by Ca2+ and HCO3- with a relatively high molar K+/Na+ ratio of 0.6 ± 0.1, typical for meltwaters draining a gneissic lithology. Low molar Ca2+/Na+ and Mg2+/Na+ ratios indicate that weathering of disseminated carbonates contributes less than silicate weathering to the chemical composition. The solute export varied between 33 × 103 (2009) and 61 × 103 tons (2010), showing that increasing discharge leads to increasing solute export at the catchment scale. Deviations between ion yield estimates derived from use of discharge-weighted and mean daily concentrations methods were generally less than 5%, indicating that the choice of method is of less importance. The chemical denudation rates ranged between 36 and 56 Σ∗ meq+ m-2 per year, which are lower than previous records from glacierized catchments. However, when normalized by discharge the denudation rates are comparable to other Arctic sites. When extrapolating the results from the Watson River catchment to the entire Greenland for 2007-2010, the solute export from Greenland meltwater varied between 7.1 × 106 and 7.8 × 106 tons, whilst the major ion export was between 6.4 × 106 and 7.3 × 106 tons. Dissolved Fe, a potential biolimiting nutrient for primary productivity in the North Atlantic, had annual export rates from Greenland between 15 × 103 and 52 × 103 tons.

  1. Earthquake swarms in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larsen, Tine B.; Voss, Peter H.; Dahl-Jensen, Trine

    2014-05-01

    Earthquake swarms occur primarily near active volcanoes and in areas with frequent tectonic activity. However, intraplate earthquake swarms are not an unknown phenomenon. They are located near zones of weakness, e.g. in regions with geological contrasts, where dynamic processes are active. An earthquake swarm is defined as a period of increased seismicity, in the form of a cluster of earthquakes of similar magnitude, occurring in the same general area, during a limited time period. There is no obvious main shock among the earthquakes in a swarm. Earthquake swarms occur in Greenland, which is a tectonically stable, intraplate environment. The first earthquake swarms in Greenland were detected more than 30 years ago in Northern and North-Eastern Greenland. However, detection of these low-magnitude events is challenging due to the enormous distances and the relatively sparse network of seismographs. The seismograph coverage of Greenland has vastly improved since the international GLISN-project was initiated in 2008. Greenland is currently coved by an open network of 19 BB seismographs, most of them transmitting data in real-time. Additionally, earthquake activity in Greenland is monitored by seismographs in Canada, Iceland, on Jan Mayen, and on Svalbard. The time-series of data from the GLISN network is still short, with the latest station been added in NW Greenland in 2013. However, the network has already proven useful in detecting several earthquake swarms. In this study we will focus on two swarms: one occurring near/on the East Greenland coast in 2008, and another swarm occurring in the Disko-area near the west coast of Greenland in 2010. Both swarms consist of earthquakes with local magnitudes between 1.9 and 3.2. The areas, where the swarms are located, are regularly active with small earthquakes. The earthquake swarms are analyzed in the context of the general seismicity and the possible relationship to the local geological conditions.

  2. 2. HORSESHOE CURVE IN GLACIER POINT ROAD NEAR GLACIER POINT. ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    2. HORSESHOE CURVE IN GLACIER POINT ROAD NEAR GLACIER POINT. HALF DOME AT CENTER REAR. LOOKING NNE. GIS N-37 43 44.3 / W-119 34 14.1 - Glacier Point Road, Between Chinquapin Flat & Glacier Point, Yosemite Village, Mariposa County, CA

  3. HORSESHOE CURVE IN GLACIER POINT ROAD NEAR GLACIER POINT. HALF ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    HORSESHOE CURVE IN GLACIER POINT ROAD NEAR GLACIER POINT. HALF DOME AT CENTER REAR. SAME VIEW AT CA-157-2. LOOKING NNE. GIS: N-37' 43 44.3 / W-119 34 14.1 - Glacier Point Road, Between Chinquapin Flat & Glacier Point, Yosemite Village, Mariposa County, CA

  4. The GreenLand Ice Sheet monitoring Network (GLISN)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larsen, Tine B.; Anderson, K. R.; Beaudoin, B. C.; Butler, R.; Clinton, J. F.; Dahl-Jensen, T.; Ekstrom, G.; Giardini, D.; Hanka, W.; Kanao, M.; McCormack, D.; Mykkelveit, S.; Nettles, M.; Piana Agostinetti, N.; Tsuboi, S.; Voss, P.

    2010-05-01

    The GreenLand Ice Sheet monitoring Network (GLISN) is a new, international, broadband seismic capability for Greenland, being installed and implemented through the joint collaboration of USA, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Italy, Japan and Norway. GLISN is a real-time sensor array consisting of more than 20 broad band stations. The purpose of the project is to enhance and upgrade the performance of the scarce existing Greenland seismic infrastructure for detecting, locating, and characterizing both tectonic and in particular glacial earthquakes and other cryo-seismic phenomena. Complementing data from satellites, geodesy, and other sources, and in concert with these technologies, GLISN will provide a powerful tool for detecting change, and will advance new frontiers of research in the glacial systems as well as in the underlying geological and geophysical processes affecting the Greenland Ice Sheet. The glacial processes that induce seismic events are all integral to the overall dynamics of glaciers, and seismic observations of glaciers therefore provide a quantitative means for monitoring changes in their behaviour over time. Long-term seismic monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet will contribute to identifying possible unsuspected mechanisms, and also detect if the areas of cryo-seismic events change and expand in the coming decades. GLISN will provide a new reference network in and around Greenland for monitoring these phenomena in real-time, and for the broad seismological study of Earth and earthquakes. The GLISN development takes its starting point in the existing permanent and long-time stations in and around Greenland operated by members of GLISN. These stations will be upgraded to a common standard with real-time telemetry. The network will be expanded by installing new, telemetered, broadband seismic stations on Greenland's perimeter and ice sheet. An open virtual network is established were all GLISN data can be downloaded. In collaboration with

  5. The GreenLand Ice Sheet monitoring Network (GLISN)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, K. R.; Beaudoin, B. C.; Butler, R.; Clinton, J. F.; Dahl-Jensen, T.; Ekstrom, G.; Giardini, D.; Hanka, W.; Kanao, M.; Larsen, T.; McCormack, D.; Mykkeltveit, S.; Nettles, M.; Piana Agostinetti, N.; Tsuboi, S.; Voss, P.

    2009-12-01

    The GreenLand Ice Sheet monitoring Network (GLISN) is a new, international, broadband seismic capability for Greenland, being installed and implemented through the joint collaboration of Denmark, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, and USA. GLISN is a real-time sensor array of 25 stations to enhance and upgrade the performance of the scarce existing Greenland seismic infrastructure for detecting, locating, and characterizing glacial earthquakes and other cryo-seismic phenomena, and contribute to our understanding of Ice Sheet dynamics. Complementing data from satellites, geodesy, and other sources, and in concert with these technologies, GLISN will provide a powerful tool for detecting change, and will advance new frontiers of research in the glacial systems; the underlying geological and geophysical processes affecting the Greenland Ice Sheet; interactions between oceans, climate, and the cryosphere; and other multidisciplinary areas of interest to geoscience and climate dynamics. The glacial processes that induce seismic events (internal deformation, sliding at the base, disintegration at the calving front, drainage of supra-glacial lakes) are all integral to the overall dynamics of glaciers, and seismic observations of glaciers therefore provide a quantitative means for monitoring changes in their behavior over time. Long-term seismic monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet will contribute to identifying possible unsuspected mechanisms and metrics relevant to ice sheet collapse, and will provide new constraints on Ice Sheet dynamic processes and their potential roles in sea-level rise during the coming decades. GLISN will provide a new, fiducial reference network in and around Greenland for monitoring these phenomena in real-time, and for the broad seismological study of Earth and earthquakes. The GLISN development is focused on 1) upgrading equipment and adding real-time telemetry to existing seismic infrastructure in Greenland, 2) installing new

  6. Greenland Ice Flow

    NASA Video Gallery

    Greenland looks like a big pile of snow seen from space using a regular camera. But satellite radar interferometry helps us detect the motion of ice beneath the snow. Ice starts flowing from the fl...

  7. Ice mass loss in Greenland, the Gulf of Alaska, and the Canadian Archipelago: Seasonal cycles and decadal trends

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harig, Christopher; Simons, Frederik J.

    2016-04-01

    Over the past several decades mountain glaciers and ice caps have been significant contributors to sea level rise. Here we estimate the ice mass changes in the Canadian Archipelago, the Gulf of Alaska, and Greenland since 2003 by analyzing time-varying gravimetry data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment. Prior to 2013, interannual ice mass variability in the Gulf of Alaska and in regions around Greenland remains within the average estimated over the whole data span. Beginning in summer 2013, ice mass in regions around Greenland departs positively from its long-term trend. Over Greenland this anomaly reached almost 500 Gt through the end of 2014. Overall, long-term ice mass loss from Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago continues to accelerate, while losses around the Gulf of Alaska region continue but remain steady with no significant acceleration.

  8. Experimental evidence that microbial activity lowers the albedo of glacier surfaces: the cryoconite casserole experiment.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Musilova, M.; Tranter, M.; Takeuchi, N.; Anesio, A. M.

    2014-12-01

    Darkened glacier and ice sheet surfaces have lower albedos, absorb more solar radiation and consequently melt more rapidly. The increase in glacier surface darkening is an important positive feedback to warming global temperatures, leading to ever growing world-wide ice mass loss. Most studies focus primarily on glacial albedo darkening caused by the physical properties of snow and ice surfaces, and the deposition of dark impurities on glaciers. To date, however, the important effects of biological activity have not been included in most albedo reduction models. This study provides the first experimental evidence that microbial activity can significantly decrease the albedo of glacier surfaces. An original laboratory experiment, the cryoconite casserole, was designed to test the microbial darkening of glacier surface debris (cryoconite) under simulated Greenlandic summer conditions. It was found that minor fertilisation of the cryoconite (at nutrient concentrations typical of glacial ice melt) stimulated extensive microbial activity. Microbes intensified their organic carbon fixation and even mined phosphorous out of the glacier surface sediment. Furthermore, the microbial organic carbon production, accumulation and transformation caused the glacial debris to darken further by 17.3% reflectivity (albedo analogue). These experiments are consistent with the hypothesis that enhanced fertilisation by anthropogenic inputs results in substantial amounts of organic carbon fixation, debris darkening and ultimately to a considerable decrease in the ice albedo of glacier surfaces on global scales. The sizeable amounts of microbially produced glacier surface organic matter and nutrients can thus be a vital source of bioavailable nutrients for subglacial and downstream environments.

  9. A possible change in mass balance of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets in the coming century

    SciTech Connect

    Ohmura, A.; Wild, M.; Bengtsson, L.

    1996-09-01

    A high-resolution GCM is found to simulate precipitation and surface energy balance of high latitudes with high accuracy. This opens new possibilities to investigate the future mass balance of polar glaciers and its effect on sea level. The surface mass balance of the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets is simulated using the ECHAM3 GCM with T106 horizontal resolution. With this model, two 5-year integrations for the present and doubled carbon dioxide conditions based on the boundary conditions provided by the ECHAM1/T21 transient to what extent the effect of climate change on the mass balance on the two largest glaciers of the world can differ. On Greenland one sees a slight decrease in accumulation and a substantial increase in melt, while on Antarctica a large increase in accumulation without melt is projected. Translating the mass balances into terms of sea-level equivalent, the Greenland discharge causes a sea level rise of 1.1 mm yr{sup {minus}1}, while the accumulation on Antarctica tends to lower it by 0.9 mm yr{sup {minus}1}. The change in the combined mass balance of the two continents is almost zero. The sea level change of the next century can be affected more effectively by the thermal expansion of seawater and the mass balance of smaller glaciers outside of Greenland and Antarctica. 24 refs., 11 figs., 2 tabs.

  10. The Dynamics of Greenland's Glacial Fjords and Their Role in Climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Straneo, Fiamma; Cenedese, Claudia

    2015-01-01

    Rapid mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet has sparked interest in its glacial fjords for two main reasons: Increased submarine melting of glaciers terminating in fjords is a plausible trigger for glacier retreat, and the anomalous freshwater discharged from Greenland is transformed by fjord processes before being released into the large-scale ocean. Knowledge of the fjords' dynamics is thus key to understanding ice sheet variability and its impact on climate. Although Greenland's fjords share some commonalities with other fjords, their deep sills and deeply grounded glaciers, the presence of Atlantic and Polar Waters on the continental shelves outside the fjords' mouths, and the seasonal discharge at depth of large amounts of surface melt make them unique systems that do not fit existing paradigms. Major gaps in understanding include the interaction of the buoyancy-driven circulation (forced by the glacier) and shelf-driven circulation, and the dynamics in the near-ice zone. These must be addressed before appropriate forcing conditions can be supplied to ice sheet and ocean/climate models.

  11. The Dynamics of Greenland's Glacial Fjords and Their Role in Climate.

    PubMed

    Straneo, Fiamma; Cenedese, Claudia

    2015-01-01

    Rapid mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet has sparked interest in its glacial fjords for two main reasons: Increased submarine melting of glaciers terminating in fjords is a plausible trigger for glacier retreat, and the anomalous freshwater discharged from Greenland is transformed by fjord processes before being released into the large-scale ocean. Knowledge of the fjords' dynamics is thus key to understanding ice sheet variability and its impact on climate. Although Greenland's fjords share some commonalities with other fjords, their deep sills and deeply grounded glaciers, the presence of Atlantic and Polar Waters on the continental shelves outside the fjords' mouths, and the seasonal discharge at depth of large amounts of surface melt make them unique systems that do not fit existing paradigms. Major gaps in understanding include the interaction of the buoyancy-driven circulation (forced by the glacier) and shelf-driven circulation, and the dynamics in the near-ice zone. These must be addressed before appropriate forcing conditions can be supplied to ice sheet and ocean/climate models. PMID:25149564

  12. Hydrologic controls on coastal suspended sediment plumes around the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chu, V. W.; Smith, L. C.; Rennermalm, A. K.; Forster, R. R.; Box, J. E.

    2011-12-01

    Increasing surface melting on the Greenland ice sheet and rising sea level have furthered the need for direct observations of meltwater release from the ice sheet to ocean. Buoyant sediment plumes develop in fjords downstream of outlet glaciers and are controlled by a variety of complex factors, including ice sheet meltwater runoff and fluvial processes. This study classifies average plume suspended sediment concentrations (SSC) around the Greenland ice sheet derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite imagery and field data over the period 2000-2009. Spatial and temporal variations in SSC are compared with ice sheet positive-degree-days (PDD), a proxy for ice sheet surface melting, as modeled from the Polar MM5 regional climate model, and outlet glacier environment, as represented by land- or marine-terminating glaciers. Buoyant plume SSCs are successfully retrieved around most of Greenland. Higher ice sheet melting around Greenland produces higher SSCs in surrounding coastal waters. The southwest region, dominated by land-terminating glaciers, experiences highest PDDs and produces plumes with highest SSCs, which typically persist late into the meltwater runoff season. Interannual variations in ice sheet PDD and plume SSC are not coupled as previously demonstrated in Kangerlussuaq Fjord (Chu et al. 2009), suggesting plume dimensions better capture interannual runoff dynamics than SSC. This first exploration of coastal sediment plumes around Greenland demonstrates that while complex factors influence their development and detection, ice sheet hydrology is a dominant control on plume distribution. Satellite remote sensing thus offers a unique methodology for detecting meltwater release from the ice sheet to global ocean.

  13. A strategy for monitoring glaciers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fountain, Andrew G.; Krimmel, Robert M.; Trabant, Dennis C.

    1997-01-01

    Glaciers are important features in the hydrologic cycle and affect the volume, variability, and water quality of runoff. Assessing and predicting the effect of glaciers on water resources require a monitoring program to provide basic data for this understanding. The monitoring program of the U.S. Geological Survey employs a nested approach whereby an intensively studied glacier is surrounded by less intensively studied glaciers and those monitored solely by remote sensing. Ideally, each glacierized region of the United States would have such a network of glaciers. The intensively studied glacier provides a detailed understanding of the physical processes and their temporal changes that control the mass exchange of the glaciers in that region. The less intensively studied glaciers are used to assess the variability of such processes within the region.

  14. Bruggen Glacier, Chile

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    The Expedition 3 crew of the International Space Station caught a rare glimpse of the massive ice fields and glaciers of Patagonia early in the afternoon on September 25, 2001. This part of the South American coast sees frequent storms and is often obscured from view by cloud cover. Bruggen Glacier in southern Chile is the largest western outflow from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and, unlike most glaciers worldwide, advanced significantly since 1945. From 1945 to 1976, Bruggen surged 5 km across the Eyre Fjord, reaching the western shore by 1962 and cutting off Lake Greve from the sea. The glacier continued advancing both northward and southward in the fjord to near its present position before stabilizing. The growth covers a distance of more than 10 km north to south, adding nearly 60 square km of ice. Additional information on this and other Patagonian glaciers may be found at the following link: USGS - Historic Fluctuations of Outlet Glaciers from the Patagonian Ice Fields. Image ISS003-E-6061 was provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

  15. Amplified melt and flow of the Greenland ice sheet driven by late-summer cyclonic rainfall

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doyle, Samuel H.; Hubbard, Alun; van de Wal, Roderik S. W.; Box, Jason E.; van As, Dirk; Scharrer, Kilian; Meierbachtol, Toby W.; Smeets, Paul C. J. P.; Harper, Joel T.; Johansson, Emma; Mottram, Ruth H.; Mikkelsen, Andreas B.; Wilhelms, Frank; Patton, Henry; Christoffersen, Poul; Hubbard, Bryn

    2015-08-01

    Intense rainfall events significantly affect Alpine and Alaskan glaciers through enhanced melting, ice-flow acceleration and subglacial sediment erosion, yet their impact on the Greenland ice sheet has not been assessed. Here we present measurements of ice velocity, subglacial water pressure and meteorological variables from the western margin of the Greenland ice sheet during a week of warm, wet cyclonic weather in late August and early September 2011. We find that extreme surface runoff from melt and rainfall led to a widespread acceleration in ice flow that extended 140 km into the ice-sheet interior. We suggest that the late-season timing was critical in promoting rapid runoff across an extensive bare ice surface that overwhelmed a subglacial hydrological system in transition to a less-efficient winter mode. Reanalysis data reveal that similar cyclonic weather conditions prevailed across southern and western Greenland during this time, and we observe a corresponding ice-flow response at all land- and marine-terminating glaciers in these regions for which data are available. Given that the advection of warm, moist air masses and rainfall over Greenland is expected to become more frequent in the coming decades, our findings portend a previously unforeseen vulnerability of the Greenland ice sheet to climate change.

  16. Effect of microorganism on Greenland ice sheet surface temperature change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shimada, R.; Takeuchi, N.; Aoki, T.

    2012-12-01

    Greenland ice sheet holds approximately 10% of the fresh water on earth. If it melts all, sea level rises about 7.2meter. It is reported that mass of Greenland ice sheet is decreasing with temperature rising of climate change. Melting of the coastal area is particularly noticeable. It is established that 4 to 23% of the sea level rising from 1993 to 2005 is caused by the melting of Greenland ice sheet. In 2010, amount of melting per year became the largest than the past. However many climate models aren't able to simulate the recent melting of snow and ice in the Arctic including Greenland. One of the possible causes is albedo reduction of snow and ice surface by light absorbing snow impurities such as black carbon and dust and by glacial microorganisms. But there are few researches for effect of glacial microorganism in wide area. So it is important to clarify the impact of glacial microorganisms in wide area. The purpose of this study is to clarify the effect of microorganism on Greenland ice sheet surface temperature change using satellite images of visible, near infrared and thermal infrared wavelength range and observation carried out in northwestern Greenland. We use MODIS Land Surface Temperature Product as ice sheet surface temperature. It estimates land surface temperature based on split window method using thermal infrared bands. MODIS data is bound to cover the whole of Greenland, and calculated the ratio of the temperature change per year. Analysis period is from December 2002 to November 2010. Results of calculating Greenland ice sheet surface temperature change using the MODIS data, our analysis shows that it is upward trend in the whole region. We find a striking upward trend in northern and western part of Greenland. The rate is 0.33±0.03 degree Celsius per a year from 47.5°W to 49°W. While in the coastal area from 49°W to 50.7°W, the rate is 0.26±0.06 degree Celsius per a year. This large upward trend area is the same area as dark region

  17. Pattern and forcing of Northern Hemisphere glacier variations during the last millennium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porter, Stephen C.

    1986-07-01

    Time series depicting mountain glacier fluctuations in the Alps display generally similar patterns over the last two centuries, as do chronologies of glacier variations for the same interval from elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Episodes of glacier advance consistently are associated with intervals of high average volcanic aerosol production, as inferred from acidity variations in a Greenland ice core. Advances occur whenever acidity levels rise sharply from background values to reach concentrations ≥1.2 μequiv H +/kg above background. A phase lag of about 10-15 yr, equivalent to reported response lags of Alpine glacier termini, separates the beginning of acidity increases from the beginning of subsequent ice advances. A similar relationship, but based on limited and less-reliable historical data and on lichenometric ages, is found for the preceding 2 centuries. Calibrated radiocarbon dates related to advances of non-calving and non-surging glaciers during the earlier part of the Little Ice Age display a comparable consistent pattern. An interval of reduced acidity values between about 1090 and 1230 A.D. correlates with a time of inferred glacier contraction during the Medieval Optimum. The observed close relation between Noothern Hemisphere glacier fluctuations and variations in Greenland ice-core acidity suggests that sulfur-rich aerosols generated by volcanic eruptions are a primary forcing mechanism of glacier fluctuations, and therefore of climate, on a decadal scale. The amount of surface cooling attributable to individual large eruptions or to episodes of eruptions is simlar to the probable average temperature reduction during culminations of Little Ice Age alacier advances (ca. 0.5°-1.2°C), as inferred from depression of equilibrium-line altitudes.

  18. The Greenland Ice Sheet in Three Dimensions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacGregor, J. A.; Fahnestock, M. A.; Catania, G. A.; Paden, J. D.; Gogineni, S.; Morlighem, M.; Colgan, W. T.; Li, J.; Stillman, D. E.; Grimm, R. E.; Clow, G. D.; Young, S. K.; Mabrey, A. N.; Rybarski, S. C.; Wagman, B. M.; Rodriguez, K.

    2014-12-01

    We have produced a dated radiostratigraphy for the whole of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) from two decades of airborne radar-sounding surveys performed by The University of Kansas. This radiostratigraphy reveals a wealth of new information regarding this ice sheet's three-dimensional structure and history. South of Jakobshavn Isbræ, most of the ice sheet is Holocene-aged. Eemian ice is mostly confined to central northern Greenland. Disrupted radiostratigraphy is often located near the onset of the largest outlet glaciers, suggesting a strong coupling between the initiation of faster ice flow and anomalous basal processes in the ice-sheet interior. Ice-flow modeling constrained by this radiostratigraphy reveals that the Holocene-averaged pattern of surface accumulation is similar to the modern pattern, but that Holocene surface-accumulation rates were substantially higher than present rates in the interior. The pattern of predicted basal melt is strongly modulated by surface accumulation, further suggesting that geothermal flux beneath the GrIS is low except in the vicinity of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream. This observation also raises the possibility that the position of the GrIS's central ice divide is coupled to local basal conditions, including spatially varying subglacial geology and geothermal flux. The Holocene-averaged flow of the GrIS was significantly faster than at present, implying that the ice-sheet interior is presently dynamically thickening, likely due to the viscosity contrast between Holocene and Last Glacial Period ice. Englacial dielectric attenuation, inferred from the echo intensity of mapped reflections, is related to borehole-measured temperature and constrains depth-averaged englacial temperature across the GrIS. This ice-sheet-wide radiostratigraphy and its related inferences are new and powerful constraints on the dynamics of the GrIS, and they should be used to evaluate and improve the next generation of ice-sheet models.

  19. Flow Characteristics and Basal Boundary Condition for Daugaard-Jensen Gletscher, East Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perry, Thomas; Christoffersen, Poul; Dowdeswell, Julian; Palmer, Steven; Young, Duncan

    2014-05-01

    The recent acceleration of mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet can in part be attributed to the dynamic thinning and acceleration of its tidewater outlet glaciers. Many of these glaciers have been shown to exhibit sensitivity to conditions at their marine termini, where warm ocean currents promote ice front melting and retreat. However, these currents are confined to a northerly extent of 69N, and whilst remarkable change is seen to the south of this latitude, glaciers to the north are considerably more stable in terms of terminus position. Different environmental variables may thus control the flow characteristics of glaciers north of this well-defined geographical boundary. During 2011, high-resolution ice data was collected for Daugaard-Jensen Gletscher (71N) as part of the Greenland Outlet Glacier Geophysics (GrOGG) project. Remote sensing has confirmed its stability but few, if any, have applied an ice flow model to examine its ice dynamics in more detail. Here, the numerical Elmer-ICE model is applied to a new bed DEM in order to analyse flow characteristics and basal boundary conditions for Daugaard-Jensen Gletscher. The bed elevation of the inland part of the catchment was derived from Operation Icebridge and GrOGG ice thickness data, whilst the main glacier trunk was inferred through mass conservation calculations at a resolution of 100 m using TerraSAR-X velocity data. The latter was also used for 3D inverse modelling with Elmer-ICE, to analyse basal boundary conditions such as basal traction, sliding speed, frictional heating, and the basal melt rate. This is critical in accurately reproducing velocities and flow characteristics for the glacier, which is not always successful with a simple parameterisation in pure forward modelling. The new DEM offers considerable improvements in vertical accuracy and horizontal resolution compared to previous bed datasets created at the ice-sheet scale. Preliminary results indicate that two deep channels within the

  20. Sea ice studies in the Spitsbergen-Greenland area

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vinje, T. E. (Principal Investigator)

    1976-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. Detailed information on the outflow through the Fram Strait of ice from the Polar Ocean over shorter periods was obtained. It is found that the speed of the outflow may vary about 100% over periods of a few days. The core of the East Greenland Current is found between 2 deg E and 4 deg W. The speed of the surface water at 81 deg N is for a calm period estimated to be about 10 cm/s. A new surging glacier was discovered and new fronts of several glaciers were determined. The variation of the snow line with respect to distance from the coast was for the first time determined for the southern part of Spitsbergen. Great variations were observed, from 200 m in east to 550 m in the central area of the island.

  1. Rapid thinning of parts of the southern greenland ice sheet

    PubMed

    Krabill; Frederick; Manizade; Martin; Sonntag; Swift; Thomas; Wright; Yungel

    1999-03-01

    Aircraft laser-altimeter surveys over southern Greenland in 1993 and 1998 show three areas of thickening by more than 10 centimeters per year in the southern part of the region and large areas of thinning, particularly in the east. Above 2000 meters elevation the ice sheet is in balance but thinning predominates at lower elevations, with rates exceeding 1 meter per year on east coast outlet glaciers. These high thinning rates occur at different latitudes and at elevations up to 1500 meters, which suggests that they are caused by increased rates of creep thinning rather than by excessive melting. Taken as a whole, the surveyed region is in negative balance. PMID:10066172

  2. Understanding Recent Mass Balance Changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    vanderVeen, Cornelius

    2003-01-01

    The ultimate goal of this project is to better understand the current transfer of mass between the Greenland Ice Sheet, the world's oceans and the atmosphere, and to identify processes controlling the rate of this transfer, to be able to predict with greater confidence future contributions to global sea level rise. During the first year of this project, we focused on establishing longer-term records of change of selected outlet glaciers, reevaluation of mass input to the ice sheet and analysis of climate records derived from ice cores, and modeling meltwater production and runoff from the margins of the ice sheet.

  3. Assessing the mass loss of glaciers using ICESat laser altimetry data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bolch, Tobias

    2014-05-01

    The melt water of the glaciers on earth makes a substantial contribution to global sea-level rise. However, until recently most estimates relied on the extrapolation of measurements of few glaciers only which were upscaled to larger regions. Space-borne laser altimetry data from the ICESat GLAS sensor provides a global data set of elevation changes for the period 2003 - 2009. The accuracy of the altimetry measurements of about ±0.5 m even over rough surfaces along with their small footprint (about 70 m) is making this data very suitable to assess elevation changes not only for the two ice sheets but also for the glaciers. This data set in combination with the recently finalized global glacier inventory (Randolph Glacier Inventory) allowed the first time to determine the glacier volume changes for larger regions. A major challenge with ICESat data is the sparse density of the tracks with increasing horizontal separation with decreasing latitude (from about 10 km up to more than 50 km), and the fact that the repeat tracks can be several hundred metres apart. Plane fitting and the comparison to the available global DEMs (SRTM and GDEM) is required to correct for the repeat track separation. The obtained elevation changes are usually extrapolated to larger glazierized regions based on the glacier hypsometries. Results of two different studies of the local glaciers and ice caps on Greenland using similar data match well for the volume change (-40 km³ vs. -42 km³) with the highest loss in the south-eastern sector and lowest in the northern sector of Greenland. However, they vary between 28 ± 11 and 38 ± 7 Gt a-1 (~10 - 15% mass loss of glaciers on earth) due to different ice-density assumptions. Hence, while the measurements seem to be accurate the major challenge for assessing the glacier mass changes (and hence, their contribution to sea is the conversion from elevation changes to mass changes as snow and ice density and firn compaction have to be estimated or

  4. Detailed spatiotemporal albedo observations at Greenland's Mittivakkat Gletscher

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mernild, Sebastian H.; Knudsen, Niels T.; Yde, Jacob C.; Malmros, Jeppe K.

    2015-04-01

    Surface albedo is defined as the reflected fraction of incoming solar shortwave radiation at the surface. On Greenland's Mittivakkat Gletscher the mean glacier-wide MODIS-estimated albedo dropped by 0.10 (2000-2013) from 0.43 to 0.33 by the end of the mass balance year (EBY). Hand-held albedo measurements as low as 0.10 were observed over debris-covered ice at the glacier margin at the EBY: these values were slightly below observed values for proglacial bedrock (~0.2). The albedo is highly variable in space - a significant variability occurred within few meters at the glacier margin area ranging from 0.10 to 0.39 due to variability in debris-cover thickness and composition, microbial activity (including algae and cyanobacteria), snow grain crystal metamorphism, bare ice exposure, and meltwater ponding. Huge dark-red-brown-colored ice algae colonies were observed. Albedo measurements on snow patches and bare glacier ice changed significant with increasing elevations (180-600 m a.s.l.) by lapse rates of 0.04 and 0.03 per 100 m, respectively, indicating values as high as 0.82 and 0.40 on the upper part of the glacier. Over a period of two weeks from early August to late August 2014 the hand-held observed mean glacier-wide albedo changed from 0.40 to 0.30 indicating that on average 10% more incoming solar shortwave radiation became available for surface ablation at the end of the melt season.

  5. Diabetes mellitus in Greenland.

    PubMed

    Pedersen, Michael Lynge

    2012-02-01

    Fifty years ago type 2 diabetes mellitus was very rare in Greenland. Recent epidemiological studies have found a high prevalence of diabetes among Greenlanders comparable to levels among Inuit populations in Canada and Alaska. In 2008 a national diabetes programme was implemented aiming to improve the care for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus in Greenland based on a donation from Novo Nordisk A/S to the national health care service. A diabetes concept based on national guidelines, systematized recording in an electronically medical record and feedback to the clinics were used to improve the diabetes care. The overall aim of this thesis was to evaluate if implementation of a diabetes programme in Greenland would have a measurable effect on the quality in diabetes care including diagnostic activity and screening for diabetic complications. Two observational and cross sectional studies were performed in Greenland 2008 and 2010 before and after implementation of the diabetes programme. The medical records of patients with diabetes were reviewed. The prevalence was estimated using the whole adult population in Greenland as background population. The quality of the diabetes care was monitored by 12 health care indicators. The prevalence of diagnosed cases with type 2 diabetes mellitus among Greenlanders has increased over a period of two years. In the same period a significant increase in the quality of care in diabetes in Greenland has been documented concerning all process-of-care indicators. Significantly regional variation in the diabetes care was demonstrated in 2008. The quality in the diabetes care was best in clinics with a database. In 2010 a more homogenate quality among the clinics in the diabetes care was demonstrated. These effects could be a result of the diabetes programme implanted in between the two observations. In conclusion, improved quality in the diabetes care along with an increasing prevalence of diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus has been

  6. Glacier and Ice Shelves Studies Using Satellite SAR Interferometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rignot, Eric

    1999-01-01

    Satellite radar interferometry is a powerful technique to measure the surface velocity and topography of glacier ice. On ice shelves, a quadruple difference technique separates tidal motion from the steady creep flow deformation of ice. The results provide a wealth of information about glacier grounding lines , mass fluxes, stability, elastic properties of ice, and tidal regime. The grounding line, which is where the glacier detaches from its bed and becomes afloat, is detected with a precision of a few tens of meters. Combining this information with satellite radar altimetry makes it possible to measure glacier discharge into the ocean and state of mass balance with greater precision than ever before, and in turn provide a significant revision of past estimates of mass balance of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets. Analysis of creep rates on floating ice permits an estimation of basal melting at the ice shelf underside. The results reveal that the action of ocean water in sub-ice-shelf cavities has been largely underestimated by oceanographic models and is the dominant mode of mass release to the ocean from an ice shelf. Precise mapping of grounding line positions also permits the detection of grounding line migration, which is a fine indicator of glacier change, independent of our knowledge of snow accumulation and ice melting. This technique has been successfully used to detect the rapid retreat of Pine Island Glacier, the largest ice stream in West Antarctica. Finally, tidal motion of ice shelves measured interferometrically provides a modern, synoptic view of the physical processes which govern the formation of tabular icebergs in the Antarctic.

  7. Angalasut, an education and outreach project to create a bridge between scientists, local population in Greenland and the general public

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bourgain, Pascaline

    2015-04-01

    Bridging Science and Society has now become a necessity for scientists to develop new partnerships with local communities and to raise the public interest for scientific activities. The French-Greenlandic educational project called "Angalasut" reflects this desire to create a bridge between science, local people and the general public. This program was set up on the 2012-2013 school year, as part of an international scientific program dedicated to study the interactions between the ocean and glaciers on the western coast of Greenland, in the Uummannaq fjord. Greenlandic and French school children were involved in educational activities, in classrooms and out on the field, associated with the scientific observations conducted in Greenland (glacier flow, ocean chemical composition and circulation, instrumentation...). In Greenland, the children had the opportunity to come on board the scientific sailing boat, and in France, several meetings were organized between the children and the scientists of the expedition. In the small village of Ikerasak, the children interviewed Elders about sea ice evolution in the area. These activities, coupled to the organization of public conferences and to the creation of a trilingual website of the project (French, Greenlandic, English) aimed at explaining why scientists come to study Greenland environment. This was the opportunity for scientists to discuss with villagers who could testify on their changing environment over the past decades. A first step toward a future collaboration between scientists and villagers that would deserve further development... The project Angalasut was also the opportunity for Greenlandic and French school children to exchange about their culture and their environment through Skype communications, the exchange of mails (drawings, shells...), the creation of a society game about European fauna and flora... A meeting in France between the two groups of children is considered, possibly in summer 2015

  8. Microbial nitrogen cycling on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Telling, J.; Stibal, M.; Anesio, A. M.; Tranter, M.; Nias, I.; Cook, J.; Bellas, C.; Lis, G.; Wadham, J. L.; Sole, A.; Nienow, P.; Hodson, A.

    2012-07-01

    Nitrogen inputs and microbial nitrogen cycling were investigated along a 79 km transect into the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) during the main ablation season in summer 2010. The depletion of dissolved nitrate and production of ammonium (relative to icemelt) in cryoconite holes on Leverett Glacier, within 7.5 km of the ice sheet margin, suggested microbial uptake and ammonification respectively. Positive in situ acetylene assays indicated nitrogen fixation both in a debris-rich 100 m marginal zone and up to 5.7 km upslope on Leverett Glacier (with rates up to 16.3 μmoles C2H4 m-2 day-1). No positive acetylene assays were detected > 5.7 km into the ablation zone of the ice sheet. Potential nitrogen fixation only occurred when concentrations of dissolved and sediment-bound inorganic nitrogen were undetectable. Estimates of nitrogen fluxes onto the transect suggest that nitrogen fixation is likely of minor importance to the overall nitrogen budget of Leverett Glacier and of negligible importance to the nitrogen budget on the main ice sheet itself. Nitrogen fixation is however potentially important as a source of nitrogen to microbial communities in the debris-rich marginal zone close to the terminus of the glacier, where nitrogen fixation may aid the colonization of subglacial and moraine-derived debris.

  9. Seismic Tremor Reveals Subglacial Discharge at Tidewater Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bartholomaus, T. C.; Larsen, C. F.; O'Neel, S.; West, M. E.; Amundson, J. M.; Walter, J. I.; Catania, G. A.; Stearns, L. A.; Walker, R. T.; Sutherland, D.; Shroyer, E.; Nash, J. D.

    2014-12-01

    Subglacial discharge from the termini of tidewater glaciers drives submarine terminus melting, influences fjord circulation, erodes and redeposits subglacial sediment, and is a central component of proglacial marine ecosystems. The timing and variability of subglacial discharge can also exert a strong influence on the upstream flow of tidewater glaciers through hydrology-mediated changes in basal motion. However, a lack of observations of subglacial discharge at the ice-ocean interface hinders progress in understanding these processes and contributes to some of the largest uncertainties in sea level rise projections. Here we demonstrate that passive seismic observations collected adjacent to glaciers can meet this observational need. At tidewater and lake-terminating glaciers in Alaska and Greenland, we observe hourly to seasonal variations in low-amplitude, background seismic noise, termed glacio-hydraulic tremor. Variations in tremor amplitude correlate with discharge during the drainage of a glacially-dammed lake and reveal increases in discharge efficiency over the course of the melt season. Recordings of glacio-hydraulic tremor across a range of settings suggest widespread utility for our method. Reliable prediction of future sea level rise requires observations of subglacial discharge that elicit physical insight and can validate models. Our findings provide a platform for new understanding of ice-ocean interactions and related oceanographic, geologic, and ecological disciplines.

  10. Rapid, climate-driven changes in outlet glaciers on the Pacific coast of East Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Miles, B W J; Stokes, C R; Vieli, A; Cox, N J

    2013-08-29

    Observations of ocean-terminating outlet glaciers in Greenland and West Antarctica indicate that their contribution to sea level is accelerating as a result of increased velocity, thinning and retreat. Thinning has also been reported along the margin of the much larger East Antarctic ice sheet, but whether glaciers are advancing or retreating there is largely unknown, and there has been no attempt to place such changes in the context of localized mass loss or climatic or oceanic forcing. Here we present multidecadal trends in the terminus position of 175 ocean-terminating outlet glaciers along 5,400 kilometres of the margin of the East Antarctic ice sheet, and reveal widespread and synchronous changes. Despite large fluctuations between glaciers--linked to their size--three epochal patterns emerged: 63 per cent of glaciers retreated from 1974 to 1990, 72 per cent advanced from 1990 to 2000, and 58 per cent advanced from 2000 to 2010. These trends were most pronounced along the warmer western South Pacific coast, whereas glaciers along the cooler Ross Sea coast experienced no significant changes. We find that glacier change along the Pacific coast is consistent with a rapid and coherent response to air temperature and sea-ice trends, linked through the dominant mode of atmospheric variability (the Southern Annular Mode). We conclude that parts of the world's largest ice sheet may be more vulnerable to external forcing than recognized previously. PMID:23985874

  11. The GLIMS Glacier Database

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raup, B. H.; Khalsa, S. S.; Armstrong, R.

    2007-12-01

    The Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) project has built a geospatial and temporal database of glacier data, composed of glacier outlines and various scalar attributes. These data are being derived primarily from satellite imagery, such as from ASTER and Landsat. Each "snapshot" of a glacier is from a specific time, and the database is designed to store multiple snapshots representative of different times. We have implemented two web-based interfaces to the database; one enables exploration of the data via interactive maps (web map server), while the other allows searches based on text-field constraints. The web map server is an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) compliant Web Map Server (WMS) and Web Feature Server (WFS). This means that other web sites can display glacier layers from our site over the Internet, or retrieve glacier features in vector format. All components of the system are implemented using Open Source software: Linux, PostgreSQL, PostGIS (geospatial extensions to the database), MapServer (WMS and WFS), and several supporting components such as Proj.4 (a geographic projection library) and PHP. These tools are robust and provide a flexible and powerful framework for web mapping applications. As a service to the GLIMS community, the database contains metadata on all ASTER imagery acquired over glacierized terrain. Reduced-resolution of the images (browse imagery) can be viewed either as a layer in the MapServer application, or overlaid on the virtual globe within Google Earth. The interactive map application allows the user to constrain by time what data appear on the map. For example, ASTER or glacier outlines from 2002 only, or from Autumn in any year, can be displayed. The system allows users to download their selected glacier data in a choice of formats. The results of a query based on spatial selection (using a mouse) or text-field constraints can be downloaded in any of these formats: ESRI shapefiles, KML (Google Earth), Map

  12. Karakoram glacier surge dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quincey, D. J.; Braun, M.; Glasser, N. F.; Bishop, M. P.; Hewitt, K.; Luckman, A.

    2011-09-01

    We examine the surges of five glaciers in the Pakistan Karakoram using satellite remote sensing to investigate the dynamic nature of surges in this region and how they may be affected by climate. Surface velocity maps derived by feature-tracking quantify the surge development spatially in relation to the terminus position, and temporally with reference to seasonal weather. We find that the season of surge initiation varies, that each surge develops gradually over several years, and that maximum velocities are recorded within the lowermost 10 km of the glacier. Measured peak surge velocities are between one and two orders of magnitude greater than during quiescence. We also note that two of the glaciers are of a type not previously reported to surge. The evidence points towards recent Karakoram surges being controlled by thermal rather than hydrological conditions, coinciding with high-altitude warming from long-term precipitation and accumulation patterns.

  13. Converging flow and anisotropy cause large-scale folding in Greenland's ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Bons, Paul D; Jansen, Daniela; Mundel, Felicitas; Bauer, Catherine C; Binder, Tobias; Eisen, Olaf; Jessell, Mark W; Llorens, Maria-Gema; Steinbach, Florian; Steinhage, Daniel; Weikusat, Ilka

    2016-01-01

    The increasing catalogue of high-quality ice-penetrating radar data provides a unique insight in the internal layering architecture of the Greenland ice sheet. The stratigraphy, an indicator of past deformation, highlights irregularities in ice flow and reveals large perturbations without obvious links to bedrock shape. In this work, to establish a new conceptual model for the formation process, we analysed the radar data at the onset of the Petermann Glacier, North Greenland, and created a three-dimensional model of several distinct stratigraphic layers. We demonstrate that the dominant structures are cylindrical folds sub-parallel to the ice flow. By numerical modelling, we show that these folds can be formed by lateral compression of mechanically anisotropic ice, while a general viscosity contrast between layers would not lead to folding for the same boundary conditions. We conclude that the folds primarily form by converging flow as the mechanically anisotropic ice is channelled towards the glacier. PMID:27126274

  14. Fast retreat of Zachariæ Isstrøm, northeast Greenland.

    PubMed

    Mouginot, J; Rignot, E; Scheuchl, B; Fenty, I; Khazendar, A; Morlighem, M; Buzzi, A; Paden, J

    2015-12-11

    After 8 years of decay of its ice shelf, Zachariæ Isstrøm, a major glacier of northeast Greenland that holds a 0.5-meter sea-level rise equivalent, entered a phase of accelerated retreat in fall 2012. The acceleration rate of its ice velocity tripled, melting of its residual ice shelf and thinning of its grounded portion doubled, and calving is now occurring at its grounding line. Warmer air and ocean temperatures have caused the glacier to detach from a stabilizing sill and retreat rapidly along a downward-sloping, marine-based bed. Its equal-ice-volume neighbor, Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, is also melting rapidly but retreating slowly along an upward-sloping bed. The destabilization of this marine-based sector will increase sea-level rise from the Greenland Ice Sheet for decades to come. PMID:26563135

  15. Converging flow and anisotropy cause large-scale folding in Greenland's ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bons, Paul D.; Jansen, Daniela; Mundel, Felicitas; Bauer, Catherine C.; Binder, Tobias; Eisen, Olaf; Jessell, Mark W.; Llorens, Maria-Gema; Steinbach, Florian; Steinhage, Daniel; Weikusat, Ilka

    2016-04-01

    The increasing catalogue of high-quality ice-penetrating radar data provides a unique insight in the internal layering architecture of the Greenland ice sheet. The stratigraphy, an indicator of past deformation, highlights irregularities in ice flow and reveals large perturbations without obvious links to bedrock shape. In this work, to establish a new conceptual model for the formation process, we analysed the radar data at the onset of the Petermann Glacier, North Greenland, and created a three-dimensional model of several distinct stratigraphic layers. We demonstrate that the dominant structures are cylindrical folds sub-parallel to the ice flow. By numerical modelling, we show that these folds can be formed by lateral compression of mechanically anisotropic ice, while a general viscosity contrast between layers would not lead to folding for the same boundary conditions. We conclude that the folds primarily form by converging flow as the mechanically anisotropic ice is channelled towards the glacier.

  16. Converging flow and anisotropy cause large-scale folding in Greenland's ice sheet

    PubMed Central

    Bons, Paul D.; Jansen, Daniela; Mundel, Felicitas; Bauer, Catherine C.; Binder, Tobias; Eisen, Olaf; Jessell, Mark W.; Llorens, Maria-Gema; Steinbach, Florian; Steinhage, Daniel; Weikusat, Ilka

    2016-01-01

    The increasing catalogue of high-quality ice-penetrating radar data provides a unique insight in the internal layering architecture of the Greenland ice sheet. The stratigraphy, an indicator of past deformation, highlights irregularities in ice flow and reveals large perturbations without obvious links to bedrock shape. In this work, to establish a new conceptual model for the formation process, we analysed the radar data at the onset of the Petermann Glacier, North Greenland, and created a three-dimensional model of several distinct stratigraphic layers. We demonstrate that the dominant structures are cylindrical folds sub-parallel to the ice flow. By numerical modelling, we show that these folds can be formed by lateral compression of mechanically anisotropic ice, while a general viscosity contrast between layers would not lead to folding for the same boundary conditions. We conclude that the folds primarily form by converging flow as the mechanically anisotropic ice is channelled towards the glacier. PMID:27126274

  17. Fast retreat of Zachariæ Isstrøm, northeast Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mouginot, J.; Rignot, E.; Scheuchl, B.; Fenty, I.; Khazendar, A.; Morlighem, M.; Buzzi, A.; Paden, J.

    2015-12-01

    After 8 years of decay of its ice shelf, Zachariæ Isstrøm, a major glacier of northeast Greenland that holds a 0.5-meter sea-level rise equivalent, entered a phase of accelerated retreat in fall 2012. The acceleration rate of its ice velocity tripled, melting of its residual ice shelf and thinning of its grounded portion doubled, and calving is now occurring at its grounding line. Warmer air and ocean temperatures have caused the glacier to detach from a stabilizing sill and retreat rapidly along a downward-sloping, marine-based bed. Its equal-ice-volume neighbor, Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, is also melting rapidly but retreating slowly along an upward-sloping bed. The destabilization of this marine-based sector will increase sea-level rise from the Greenland Ice Sheet for decades to come.

  18. A reconciled estimate of glacier contributions to sea level rise: 2003 to 2009.

    PubMed

    Gardner, Alex S; Moholdt, Geir; Cogley, J Graham; Wouters, Bert; Arendt, Anthony A; Wahr, John; Berthier, Etienne; Hock, Regine; Pfeffer, W Tad; Kaser, Georg; Ligtenberg, Stefan R M; Bolch, Tobias; Sharp, Martin J; Hagen, Jon Ove; van den Broeke, Michiel R; Paul, Frank

    2013-05-17

    Glaciers distinct from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets are losing large amounts of water to the world's oceans. However, estimates of their contribution to sea level rise disagree. We provide a consensus estimate by standardizing existing, and creating new, mass-budget estimates from satellite gravimetry and altimetry and from local glaciological records. In many regions, local measurements are more negative than satellite-based estimates. All regions lost mass during 2003-2009, with the largest losses from Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes, and high-mountain Asia, but there was little loss from glaciers in Antarctica. Over this period, the global mass budget was -259 ± 28 gigatons per year, equivalent to the combined loss from both ice sheets and accounting for 29 ± 13% of the observed sea level rise. PMID:23687045

  19. Climate regime of Asian glaciers revealed by GAMDAM glacier inventory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sakai, A.; Nuimura, T.; Fujita, K.; Takenaka, S.; Nagai, H.; Lamsal, D.

    2015-05-01

    Among meteorological elements, precipitation has a large spatial variability and less observation, particularly in high-mountain Asia, although precipitation in mountains is an important parameter for hydrological circulation. We estimated precipitation contributing to glacier mass at the median elevation of glaciers, which is presumed to be at equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) such that mass balance is zero at that elevation, by tuning adjustment parameters of precipitation. We also made comparisons between the median elevation of glaciers, including the effect of drifting snow and avalanche, and eliminated those local effects. Then, we could obtain the median elevation of glaciers depending only on climate to estimate glacier surface precipitation. The calculated precipitation contributing to glacier mass can elucidate that glaciers in arid high-mountain Asia receive less precipitation, while much precipitation makes a greater contribution to glacier mass in the Hindu Kush, the Himalayas, and the Hengduan Shan due to not only direct precipitation amount but also avalanche nourishment. We classified glaciers in high-mountain Asia into summer-accumulation type and winter-accumulation type using the summer-accumulation ratio and confirmed that summer-accumulation-type glaciers have a higher sensitivity than winter-accumulation-type glaciers.

  20. Climate regime of Asian glaciers revealed by GAMDAM Glacier Inventory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sakai, A.; Nuimura, T.; Fujita, K.; Takenaka, S.; Nagai, H.; Lamsal, D.

    2014-07-01

    Among meteorological elements, precipitation has a large spatial variability and less observation, particularly in High Mountain Asia, although precipitation in mountains is an important parameter for hydrological circulation. We estimated precipitation contributing to glacier mass at median elevation of glaciers, which is presumed to be at equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) so that mass balance is zero at that elevation, by tuning adjustment parameters of precipitation. We also made comparisons between median elevation of glaciers, including the effect of drifting snow and avalanche, and eliminated those local effects. Then, we could obtain median elevation of glaciers depending only on climate to estimate glacier surface precipitation. The calculated precipitation contributing to glacier mass can elucidate that glaciers in the arid High Mountain Asia have very less precipitation, while much precipitation contribute to glacier mass in the Hindu Kush, the Himalayas, and the Hengduan Shan due to not only direct precipitation amount but also avalanche nourishment. We classified glaciers in High Mountain Asia into summer-accumulation type and winter-accumulation type using the summer accumulation ratio, and confirmed that summer-accumulation type glaciers have a higher sensitivity than winter-accumulation type glaciers.

  1. Svalbard surging glacier landsystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lovell, Harold; Benn, Douglas; Lukas, Sven; Flink, Anne

    2014-05-01

    The percentage of Svalbard glaciers thought to be of surge-type is somewhere between 13-90% according to different sources variously based on statistical analysis and observations of diagnostic glaciological and geomorphological features, e.g. looped moraines. Developing a better understanding of which of these figures, if either, is most realistic is important in the context of glacier dynamics and related contributions of small glaciers and ice caps to sea level change in the immediate future. We present detailed geomorphological assessments of the margins of several known surge-type glaciers in Svalbard in order to update and improve the existing framework by which they are identified, and to provide a foundation for future reassessments of the surge-type glacier population based on distinct landform-sediment assemblages. Three landsystems are proposed: (1) Surges of small valley glaciers produce a prominent ice-cored latero-frontal moraine at their surge maximum and are characterised by an inner zone of ice stagnation terrain (hummocky topography, kettle lakes, debris flows) with no or only very few poorly-defined bedforms (crevasse squeeze ridges, eskers and flutes) and no recessional moraines. Many of these glaciers may have surged in the past but show no signs that they have the capability to do so again in the future. (2) Larger land-terminating glaciers, often with several tributaries, typically produce a push moraine complex which contains evidence for multiple advances, as identified from ridge-meltwater channel relationships. The inner zone often contains a large lagoon, partly dammed by the push moraine complex, and widespread ice stagnation terrain. Crevasse squeeze ridges, eskers and flutes are well-defined but small and limited in number and distribution. (3) Surges of large tidewater glaciers produce distinctive, often multi-generational, landform assemblages both in submarine and lateral terrestrial positions. The well-preserved submarine record

  2. Peeking Under the Ice… Literally: Records of Arctic Climate Change from Radiocarbon Dating Moss Emerging from Beneath Retreating Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Briner, J. P.; Schweinsberg, A.; Miller, G. H.; Lifton, N. A.; Beel, C. R.; Bennike, O.

    2014-12-01

    Dramatic changes are taking place throughout the Arctic. Many glaciers have already melted away completely, and most others are well on their way as rising snowline elevations promise continued glacier retreat. Emerging from beneath retreating glacier margins is a landscape rich in information about past climate and glacier changes. Within newly exposed bedrock is an inventory of cosmogenic nuclides that archive past ice cover timing and duration. Lake basins re-appearing due to retreating ice preserve sediment archives that tell of cooling climate and advancing ice. And ancient surfaces vegetated with tundra communities that have long been entombed beneath frozen-bedded ice caps are now being revealed for the first time in millennia. This presentation will focus on the climate and glacier record derived from radiocarbon dating of in situ moss recently exhumed from retreating local ice cap margins on western Greenland. Dozens of radiocarbon ages from moss group into several distinct modes, which are interpreted as discrete times of persistent summer cooling and resultant glacier expansion. The data reveal a pattern of glacier expansion beginning ~5000 years ago, followed by periods of glacier growth around 3500 and 1500 years ago. Because these times of glacier expansion are recorded at many sites in western Greenland and elsewhere in the Arctic, they are interpreted as times of step-wise summer cooling events during the Holocene. These non-linear climate changes may be a result of feedbacks that amplify linear insolation forcing of Holocene climate. In addition to these insights into the Arctic climate system, the antiquity of many radiocarbon ages of ice-killed moss indicate that many arctic surfaces are being re-exposed for the first time in millennia due to retreating ice, emphasizing the unprecedented nature of current summer warming.

  3. Using glacier seismicity for phase velocity measurements and Green's function retrieval

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walter, Fabian; Roux, Philippe; Roeoesli, Claudia; Lecointre, Albanne; Kilb, Debi; Roux, Pierre-François

    2015-06-01

    High-melt areas of glaciers and ice sheets foster a rich spectrum of ambient seismicity. These signals not only shed light on source mechanisms (e.g. englacial fracturing, water flow, iceberg detachment, basal motion) but also carry information about seismic wave propagation within glacier ice. Here, we present two approaches to measure and potentially monitor phase velocities of high-frequency seismic waves (≥1 Hz) using naturally occurring glacier seismicity. These two approaches were developed for data recorded by on-ice seasonal seismic networks on the Greenland Ice Sheet and a Swiss Alpine glacier. The Greenland data set consists of continuous seismograms, dominated by long-term tremor-like signals of englacial water flow, whereas the Alpine data were collected in triggered mode producing 1-2 s long records that include fracture events within the ice (`icequakes'). We use a matched-field processing technique to retrieve frequency-dependent phase velocity measurements for the Greenland data. In principle, this phase dispersion relationship can be inverted for ice sheet thickness and bed properties. For these Greenland data, inversion of the dispersion curve yields a bedrock depth of 541 m, which may be too small by as much as 35 per cent. We suggest that the discrepancy is due to lateral changes in ice sheet depth and bed properties beneath the network, which may cause unaccounted mixing of surface wave modes in the dispersion curve. The Swiss Alpine icequake records, on the other hand, allow for reconstruction of the impulse response between two seismometers. The direct and scattered wave fields from the vast numbers of icequake records (tens of thousands per month) can be used to measure small changes in englacial velocities and thus monitor structural changes within the ice.

  4. Radiostratigraphy and age structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacGregor, Joseph A.; Fahnestock, Mark A.; Catania, Ginny A.; Paden, John D.; Prasad Gogineni, S.; Young, S. Keith; Rybarski, Susan C.; Mabrey, Alexandria N.; Wagman, Benjamin M.; Morlighem, Mathieu

    2015-02-01

    Several decades of ice-penetrating radar surveys of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have observed numerous widespread internal reflections. Analysis of this radiostratigraphy has produced valuable insights into ice sheet dynamics and motivates additional mapping of these reflections. Here we present a comprehensive deep radiostratigraphy of the Greenland Ice Sheet from airborne deep ice-penetrating radar data collected over Greenland by The University of Kansas between 1993 and 2013. To map this radiostratigraphy efficiently, we developed new techniques for predicting reflection slope from the phase recorded by coherent radars. When integrated along track, these slope fields predict the radiostratigraphy and simplify semiautomatic reflection tracing. Core-intersecting reflections were dated using synchronized depth-age relationships for six deep ice cores. Additional reflections were dated by matching reflections between transects and by extending reflection-inferred depth-age relationships using the local effective vertical strain rate. The oldest reflections, dating to the Eemian period, are found mostly in the northern part of the ice sheet. Within the onset regions of several fast-flowing outlet glaciers and ice streams, reflections typically do not conform to the bed topography. Disrupted radiostratigraphy is also observed in a region north of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream that is not presently flowing rapidly. Dated reflections are used to generate a gridded age volume for most of the ice sheet and also to determine the depths of key climate transitions that were not observed directly. This radiostratigraphy provides a new constraint on the dynamics and history of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

  5. Seasonal changes in Fe along a glaciated Greenlandic fjord.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hopwood, Mark; Connelly, Douglas; Arendt, Kristine; Juul-Pedersen, Thomas; Stinchcombe, Mark; Meire, Lorenz; Esposito, Mario; Krishna, Ram

    2016-03-01

    Greenland's ice sheet is the second largest on Earth, and is under threat from a warming Arctic climate. An increase in freshwater discharge from Greenland has the potential to strongly influence the composition of adjacent water masses with the largest impact on marine ecosystems likely to be found within the glaciated fjords. Here we demonstrate that physical and chemical estuarine processes within a large Greenlandic fjord are critical factors in determining the fate of meltwater derived nutrients and particles, especially for non-conservative elements such as Fe. Concentrations of Fe and macronutrients in surface waters along Godthåbsfjord, a southwest Greenlandic fjord with freshwater input from 6 glaciers, changed markedly between the onset and peak of the meltwater season due to the development of a thin (<10 m), outflowing, low-salinity surface layer. Dissolved (<0.2 µm) Fe concentrations in meltwater entering Godthåbsfjord (200 nM), in freshly melted glacial ice (mean 38 nM) and in surface waters close to a land terminating glacial system (80 nM) all indicated high Fe inputs into the fjord in summer. Total dissolvable (unfiltered at pH <2.0) Fe was similarly high with concentrations always in excess of 100 nM throughout the fjord and reaching up to 5.0 µM close to glacial outflows in summer. Yet, despite the large seasonal freshwater influx into the fjord, Fe concentrations near the fjord mouth in the out-flowing surface layer were similar in summer to those measured before the meltwater season. Furthermore, turbidity profiles indicated that sub-glacial particulate Fe inputs may not actually mix into the outflowing surface layer of this fjord. Emphasis has previously been placed on the possibility of increased Fe export from Greenland as meltwater fluxes increase. Here we suggest that in-fjord processes may be effective at removing Fe from surface waters before it can be exported to coastal seas.

  6. Radiostratigraphy and age structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    PubMed Central

    MacGregor, Joseph A; Fahnestock, Mark A; Catania, Ginny A; Paden, John D; Prasad Gogineni, S; Young, S Keith; Rybarski, Susan C; Mabrey, Alexandria N; Wagman, Benjamin M; Morlighem, Mathieu

    2015-01-01

    Several decades of ice-penetrating radar surveys of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have observed numerous widespread internal reflections. Analysis of this radiostratigraphy has produced valuable insights into ice sheet dynamics and motivates additional mapping of these reflections. Here we present a comprehensive deep radiostratigraphy of the Greenland Ice Sheet from airborne deep ice-penetrating radar data collected over Greenland by The University of Kansas between 1993 and 2013. To map this radiostratigraphy efficiently, we developed new techniques for predicting reflection slope from the phase recorded by coherent radars. When integrated along track, these slope fields predict the radiostratigraphy and simplify semiautomatic reflection tracing. Core-intersecting reflections were dated using synchronized depth-age relationships for six deep ice cores. Additional reflections were dated by matching reflections between transects and by extending reflection-inferred depth-age relationships using the local effective vertical strain rate. The oldest reflections, dating to the Eemian period, are found mostly in the northern part of the ice sheet. Within the onset regions of several fast-flowing outlet glaciers and ice streams, reflections typically do not conform to the bed topography. Disrupted radiostratigraphy is also observed in a region north of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream that is not presently flowing rapidly. Dated reflections are used to generate a gridded age volume for most of the ice sheet and also to determine the depths of key climate transitions that were not observed directly. This radiostratigraphy provides a new constraint on the dynamics and history of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Key Points Phase information predicts reflection slope and simplifies reflection tracing Reflections can be dated away from ice cores using a simple ice flow model Radiostratigraphy is often disrupted near the onset of fast ice flow PMID:26213664

  7. Glacier generated floods

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walder, J.S.; Fountain, A.G.

    1997-01-01

    Destructive floods result from drainage of glacier-dammed lakes and sudden release of water stored within glaciers. There is a good basis - both empirical and theoretical - for predicting the magnitude of floods from ice-dammed lakes, although some aspects of flood initiation need to be better understood. In contrast, an understanding of floods resulting from release of internally stored water remains elusive, owing to lack of knowledge of how and where water is stored and to inadequate understanding of the complex physics of the temporally and spatially variable subglacial drainage system.Destructive floods result from drainage of glacier-dammed lakes and sudden release of water stored within glaciers. There is a good basis - both empirical and theoretical - for predicting the magnitude of floods from ice-dammed lakes, although some aspects of flood initiation need to be better understood. In contrast, an understanding of floods resulting from release of internally stored water remains elusive, owing to lack of knowledge of how and where water is stored and to inadequate understanding of the complex physics of the temporally and spatially variable subglacial drainage system.

  8. Pine Island Glacier

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2013-04-16

    ... this representation, clouds show up as light purple. Blue to orange gradations on the surface indicate a transition in ice texture from smooth to rough. For example, the bright orange "carrot-like" features are rough crevasses on the glacier's tongue. In ...

  9. Alaska Glaciers and Rivers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2007-01-01

    The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this image on October 7, 2007, showing the Alaska Mountains of south-central Alaska already coated with snow. Purple shadows hang in the lee of the peaks, giving the snow-clad land a crumpled appearance. White gives way to brown on the right side of the image where the mountains yield to the lower-elevation Susitna River Valley. The river itself cuts a silver, winding path through deep green forests and brown wetlands and tundra. Extending from the river valley, are smaller rivers that originated in the Alaska Mountains. The source of these rivers is evident in the image. Smooth white tongues of ice extend into the river valleys, the remnants of the glaciers that carved the valleys into the land. Most of the water flowing into the Gulf of Alaska from the Susitna River comes from these mountain glaciers. Glacier melt also feeds glacier lakes, only one of which is large enough to be visible in this image. Immediately left of the Kahiltna River, the aquamarine waters of Chelatna Lake stand out starkly against the brown and white landscape.

  10. Quantifying flow regimes in a Greenland glacial fjord using iceberg drifters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sutherland, David A.; Roth, George E.; Hamilton, Gordon S.; Mernild, Sebastian H.; Stearns, Leigh A.; Straneo, Fiammetta

    2014-12-01

    Large, deep-keeled icebergs are ubiquitous in Greenland's outlet glacial fjords. Here we use the movement of these icebergs to quantify flow variability in Sermilik Fjord, southeast Greenland, from the ice mélange through the fjord to the shelf. In the ice mélange, a proglacial mixture of sea ice and icebergs, we find that icebergs consistently track the glacier speed, with slightly faster speeds near terminus and episodic increases due to calving events. In the fjord, icebergs accurately capture synoptic circulation driven by both along-fjord and along-shelf winds. Recirculation and in-/out-fjord variations occur throughout the fjord more frequently than previously reported, suggesting that across-fjord velocity gradients cannot be ignored. Once on the shelf, icebergs move southeastward in the East Greenland Coastal Current, providing wintertime observations of this freshwater pathway.

  11. Revealing basin and regional scale snow accumulation magnitude and variability on glaciers throughout Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGrath, D.; Oneel, S.; Sass, L. C., III; Gusmeroli, A.; Arendt, A. A.; Wolken, G. J.; Kienholz, C.; McNeil, C.

    2014-12-01

    Mass loss from Alaskan glaciers (-50 ± 17 Gt/a, 2003-2009) constitutes one of the largest contributions to global sea level rise outside of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The largest process-related uncertainties in this calculation arise from the difficulty in accurately measuring accumulation on glaciers and from the large variability of accumulation over a range of spatio-temporal scales. Further, the physical processes governing snow distribution in complex terrain elude model parameterization. Using ground-penetrating radar, constrained with probe and pit observations, we quantify the magnitude and variability of snow accumulation at six prominent glaciers throughout Alaska at the end of 2013 winter. We find that total SWE magnitude and variability are strongly controlled by the large-scale climate system (i.e. distance from the coastal moisture source along prevailing storm track). On average, total SWE decreases by 0.33 m per 100 km from the coast, while the SWE elevation gradient decreases by 0.06 m / 100 m per 100 km from the coast. SWE variability over small spatial scales (<200 m) is similar at most sites, although two glaciers exhibit notably low and high variability, likely related to their respective climatic provenance. On individual glaciers, strong elevation gradients, increasing from 0.07 m SWE / 100 m at the interior Gulkana Glacier to 0.30 m SWE / 100 m at the coastal Scott Glacier, exert the primary control on accumulation. Results from multi-variable linear regression models (based on topographic variables) find wind exposure/shelter is the most frequent secondary control on accumulation variability. Finally, we find strong agreement (<10% difference) between the radar derived and stake derived total SWE estimates at two glaciers in the USGS Benchmark Glacier Program.

  12. Satellite-derived surface type and melt area of the Greenland ice sheet using MODIS data from 2000 to 2005

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fausto, Robert S.; Mayer, Christoph; Ahlstrøm, Andreas P.

    2007-10-01

    A new surface classification algorithm for monitoring snow and ice masses based on data from the moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) is presented. The algorithm is applied to the Greenland ice sheet for the period 2000-05 and exploits the spectral variability of ice and snow reflectance to determine the surface classes dry snow, wet snow and glacier ice. The result is a monthly glacier surface type (GST) product on a 1 km resolution grid. The GST product is based on a grouped criteria technique with spectral thresholds and normalized indices for the classification on a pixel-by-pixel basis. The GST shows the changing surface classes, revealing the impact of climate variations on the Greenland ice sheet over time. The area of wet snow and glacier ice is combined into the glacier melt area (GMA) product. The GMA is analyzed in relation to the different surface classes in the GST product. The results are validated with data from weather stations and similar types of satellite-derived products. The validation shows that the automated algorithm successfully distinguishes between the different surface types, implying that the product is a promising indicator of climate change impact on the Greenland ice sheet.

  13. Late-Holocene Fluctuations of the Greenland Ice Sheet: Insights from a south Greenland threshold lake

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sinclair, G.; Carlson, A. E.; Reilly, B.

    2015-12-01

    Several centennial-scale climate fluctuations during the late-Holocene make it an ideal test case for examining the effects of climate change on sea level at societally-relevant timescales. Across much of the Arctic, glaciers and ice sheets reached their maximum late-Holocene extent during the Little Ice Age (LIA, 1400-1900 C.E.), approximately coincident with the global temperature minima observed during this time. However, ongoing work suggests the south Greenland Ice Sheet (sGrIS) may have behaved differently during the late-Holocene, with several outlet glaciers retreating, rather than advancing, during the LIA, possibly due to regional warming in the region different from the Arctic trend. The Qassimiut lobe, a low-lying piedmont-like extension of the sGrIS, may be especially sensitive to late-Holocene climate changes. Geomorphic evidence outboard of Naujaat Sermia, an outlet glacier draining the Qassimiut lobe, suggests three distinct periods of land exposure. We hypothesize these occurred during the last deglacial period, after an advance from near or behind the present margin during the Neoglacial, and during warming following the Little Ice Age in the last 1-2 centuries. Here, we present data from threshold lake cores immediately outboard of the presumed Neoglacial moraine. A sharp contact divides glacial sands and silts from organic gyttja, indicating glacial retreat from the moraine and subsequent meltwater diversion. The contact is accompanied by several geochemical changes, including increased Fe/Ti ratios, increased Br, and decreased Si and K, indicating a switch from more clastic to organic sedimentation. Radiocarbon ages from eight macrofossils immediately above this contact are calibrated to 1350-1950 C.E., suggesting the ice sheet may have retreated from its late-Holocene maximum during the Little Ice Age, but the wide range in ages suggests reworking of organic material may be significant in this region.

  14. Submarine melting at tidewater glaciers: comparison of numerical modelling, buoyant plume theory and hydrographic data.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Slater, D. A.; Nienow, P. W.; Goldberg, D. N.; Cowton, T. R.; Sole, A. J.

    2014-12-01

    Observations of the mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet in recent decades have shown significant losses at the coastal margins through the thinning, speed-up and retreat of tidewater glaciers. Ocean forcing, via melting of submerged ice at the calving fronts of tidewater glaciers, has been identified as a possible driver of this behaviour. Such submarine melting may provide a significant direct contribution to the negative mass balance of the glacier and could also amplify calving rates. Quantification of submarine melting remains uncertain however since modelling of fjord circulation and submarine melting is challenging, hydrographic data from pro-glacial fjords are sparse and direct observation of submarine melting at a tidewater glacier has so far proved impossible. Here, we compare submarine melt rates obtained using buoyant plume theory to those from a numerical model (MITgcm), finding reasonable agreement between the two methods. We then use buoyant plume theory, due to its faster computational speed, to investigate the dependence of melt rate on subglacial discharge, subglacial channel size (and thus emerging flow velocity) and fjord-water temperature. Finally we apply the theory to real tidewater glaciers, finding significant gaps between modelled melt rates and those estimated from hydrographic data. We discuss possible reasons for such disagreements and their implications for constraining the importance of submarine melting to tidewater glacier mass balance.

  15. Rapid wastage of Alaska glaciers and their contribution to rising sea level.

    PubMed

    Arendt, Anthony A; Echelmeyer, Keith A; Harrison, William D; Lingle, Craig S; Valentine, Virginia B

    2002-07-19

    We have used airborne laser altimetry to estimate volume changes of 67 glaciers in Alaska from the mid-1950s to the mid-1990s. The average rate of thickness change of these glaciers was -0.52 m/year. Extrapolation to all glaciers in Alaska yields an estimated total annual volume change of -52 +/- 15 km3/year (water equivalent), equivalent to a rise in sea level (SLE) of 0.14 +/- 0.04 mm/year. Repeat measurements of 28 glaciers from the mid-1990s to 2000-2001 suggest an increased average rate of thinning, -1.8 m/year. This leads to an extrapolated annual volume loss from Alaska glaciers equal to -96 +/- 35 km3/year, or 0.27 +/- 0.10 mm/year SLE, during the past decade. These recent losses are nearly double the estimated annual loss from the entire Greenland Ice Sheet during the same time period and are much higher than previously published loss estimates for Alaska glaciers. They form the largest glaciological contribution to rising sea level yet measured. PMID:12130781

  16. Source and biolability of ancient dissolved organic matter in glacier and lake ecosystems on the Tibetan Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spencer, Robert G. M.; Guo, Weidong; Raymond, Peter A.; Dittmar, Thorsten; Hood, Eran; Fellman, Jason; Stubbins, Aron

    2014-10-01

    The Tibetan Plateau is the world’s largest and highest plateau and holds the largest mass of ice on Earth outside the ice-sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, as well as abundant lakes. This study examined the molecular and isotopic signatures of dissolved organic matter (DOM) along with its biolability in glacier ice, glacier-fed streams, and alpine lakes on the Tibetan Plateau. The aim was to assess the sources of DOM and the potential of DOM to provide a carbon subsidy to downstream ecosystems. Tibetan glaciers and glacier streams exhibited low dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations (17.7-27.9 μM) and ancient DOC radiocarbon ages (749-2350 ybp). The optical properties, stable carbon isotope ratios (δ13C-DOC) and the molecular composition (Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry) of Tibetan glacier DOM are consistent with data from other glacier systems around the world. The geochemical signatures and the ancient apparent ages of Tibetan glacier DOM suggest a significant fraction is derived from the atmospheric deposition of pre-aged, possibly fossil fuel derived organics. Within the Tibetan alpine lakes, DOC was also ancient (525-675 ybp), due to either inputs of pre-aged organics from glacier runoff, direct deposition, or due to the aging of organics in situ (i.e. a radiocarbon reservoir effect). The glacier ice and glacier stream sites exhibited high biolability of DOC and so provide a carbon subsidy to downstream environments that will change as glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau recede.

  17. Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2001-01-01

    This pair of MISR images of the Pine Island Glacier in western Antarctica was acquired on December 12, 2000 during Terra orbit 5246. At left is a conventional, true-color image from the downward-looking (nadir) camera. The false-color image at right is a composite of red band data taken by the MISR forward 60-degree, nadir, and aftward 60-degree cameras, displayed in red, green, and blue colors, respectively. Color variations in the left (true-color) image highlight spectral differences. In the multi-angle composite, on the other hand, color variations act as a proxy for differences in the angular reflectance properties of the scene. In this representation, clouds show up as light purple. Blue to orange gradations on the surface indicate a transition in ice texture from smooth to rough. For example, the bright orange 'carrot-like' features are rough crevasses on the glacier's tongue. In the conventional nadir view, the blue ice labeled 'rough crevasses' and 'smooth blue ice' exhibit similar coloration, but the multi-angle composite reveals their different textures, with the smoother ice appearing dark purple instead of orange. This could be an indicator of different mechanisms by which this ice is exposed. The multi-angle view also reveals subtle roughness variations on the frozen sea ice between the glacier and the open water in Pine Island Bay.

    To the left of the 'icebergs' label are chunks of floating ice. Additionally, smaller icebergs embedded in the frozen sea ice are visible below and to the right of the label. These small icebergs are associated with dark streaks. Analysis of the illumination geometry suggests that these streaks are surface features, not shadows. Wind-driven motion and thinning of the sea ice in the vicinity of the icebergs is one possible explanation.

    Recently, Robert Bindschadler, a glaciologist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center discovered in Landsat 7 imagery a newly-formed crack traversing the Pine Island Glacier. This crack

  18. Characteristics of recessional moraines at a temperate glacier in SE Iceland: Insights into patterns, rates and drivers of glacier retreat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chandler, Benjamin M. P.; Evans, David J. A.; Roberts, David H.

    2016-03-01

    Icelandic glaciers are sensitive to climate variability on short-term timescales owing to their North Atlantic maritime setting, and have been undergoing ice-marginal retreat since the mid-1990s. Recent patterns, rates and drivers of ice-frontal retreat at Skálafellsjökull, SE Iceland, are examined using small-scale recessional moraines as a geomorphological proxy. These small-scale recessional moraines exhibit distinctive sawtooth planform geometries, and are constructed by a range of genetic processes associated with minor ice-margin re-advance, including (i) combined push/squeeze mechanisms, (ii) bulldozing of pre-existing proglacial material, and (iii) submarginal freeze-on. Remote-sensing investigations and lichenometric dating highlight sequences of annually-formed recessional moraines on the northern and central parts of the foreland. Conversely, moraines are forming on a sub-annual timescale at the southeastern Skálafellsjökull margin. Using annual moraine spacing as a proxy for annual ice-margin retreat rates (IMRRs), we demonstrate that prominent periods of glacier retreat at Skálafellsjökull are coincident with those at other Icelandic outlet glaciers, as well as those identified at Greenlandic outlet glaciers. Analysis of IMRRs and climate data suggests summer air temperature, sea surface temperature and the North Atlantic Oscillation have an influence on IMRRs at Skálafellsjökull, with the glacier appearing to be most sensitive to summer air temperature. On the basis of further climate data analyses, we hypothesise that sea surface temperature may drive air temperature changes in the North Atlantic region, which in turn forces IMRRs. The increase in sea surface temperature over recent decades may link to atmospheric-driven variations in North Atlantic subpolar gyre dynamics.

  19. Characteristics of Glacier Ecosystem and Glaciological Importance of Glacier Microorganisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohshima, S.; Yoshimura, Y.; Takeuchi, N.; Segawa, T.; Uetake, J.

    2004-12-01

    Biological activity on glaciers has been believed to be extremely limited. However, we found various biotic communities specialized to the glacier environment in various part of the world, such as Himalaya, Patagonia and Alaska. Some of these glacier hosted biotic communities including various cold-tolerant insects, annelids and copepods that were living in the glacier by feeding on algae and bacteria growing in the snow and ice. Thus, the glaciers are simple and relatively closed ecosystems sustained by the primary production in the snow and ice. Since these microorganisms growing on the glacier surface are stored in the glacial strata every year, ice-core samples contain many layers with these microorganisms. Recently, it was shown that the snow algae in the ice-core are useful for ice core dating and could be new environmental signals for the studies on past_@environment using ice cores. These microorganisms in the ice core will be important especially in the studies of ice core from the glaciers of warmer regions, in which chemical and isotopic contents are often heavily disturbed by melt water percolation. Blooms of algae and bacteria on the glacier can reduce the surface albedo and significantly affect the glacier melting. For example, the surface albedo of some Himalayan glaciers was significantly reduced by a large amount of dark-colored biogenic material (cryoconite) derived from snow algae and bacteria. It increased the melting rates of the surfaces by as much as three-fold. Thus, it was suggested that the microbial activity on the glacier could affect the mass balance and fluctuation of the glaciers.

  20. Unusual radar echoes from the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rignot, E. J.; Vanzyl, J. J.; Ostro, S. J.; Jezek, K. C.

    1993-01-01

    In June 1991, the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory airborne synthetic-aperture radar (AIRSAR) instrument collected the first calibrated data set of multifrequency, polarimetric, radar observations of the Greenland ice sheet. At the time of the AIRSAR overflight, ground teams recorded the snow and firn (old snow) stratigraphy, grain size, density, and temperature at ice camps in three of the four snow zones identified by glaciologists to characterize four different degrees of summer melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The four snow zones are: (1) the dry-snow zone, at high elevation, where melting rarely occurs; (2) the percolation zone, where summer melting generates water that percolates down through the cold, porous, dry snow and then refreezes in place to form massive layers and pipes of solid ice; (3) the soaked-snow zone where melting saturates the snow with liquid water and forms standing lakes; and (4) the ablation zone, at the lowest elevations, where melting is vigorous enough to remove the seasonal snow cover and ablate the glacier ice. There is interest in mapping the spatial extent and temporal variability of these different snow zones repeatedly by using remote sensing techniques. The objectives of the 1991 experiment were to study changes in radar scattering properties across the different melting zones of the Greenland ice sheet, and relate the radar properties of the ice sheet to the snow and firn physical properties via relevant scattering mechanisms. Here, we present an analysis of the unusual radar echoes measured from the percolation zone.

  1. Ice Flow in the North East Greenland Ice Stream

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Joughin, Ian; Kwok, Ron; Fahnestock, M.; MacAyeal, Doug

    1999-01-01

    Early observations with ERS-1 SAR image data revealed a large ice stream in North East Greenland (Fahnestock 1993). The ice stream has a number of the characteristics of the more closely studied ice streams in Antarctica, including its large size and gross geometry. The onset of rapid flow close to the ice divide and the evolution of its flow pattern, however, make this ice stream unique. These features can be seen in the balance velocities for the ice stream (Joughin 1997) and its outlets. The ice stream is identifiable for more than 700 km, making it much longer than any other flow feature in Greenland. Our research goals are to gain a greater understanding of the ice flow in the northeast Greenland ice stream and its outlet glaciers in order to assess their impact on the past, present, and future mass balance of the ice sheet. We will accomplish these goals using a combination of remotely sensed data and ice sheet models. We are using satellite radar interferometry data to produce a complete maps of velocity and topography over the entire ice stream. We are in the process of developing methods to use these data in conjunction with existing ice sheet models similar to those that have been used to improve understanding of the mechanics of flow in Antarctic ice streams.

  2. Continental ice in Greenland during the Eocene and Oligocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eldrett, James S.; Harding, Ian C.; Wilson, Paul A.; Butler, Emily; Roberts, Andrew P.

    2007-03-01

    The Eocene and Oligocene epochs (~55 to 23 million years ago) comprise a critical phase in Earth history. An array of geological records supported by climate modelling indicates a profound shift in global climate during this interval, from a state that was largely free of polar ice caps to one in which ice sheets on Antarctica approached their modern size. However, the early glaciation history of the Northern Hemisphere is a subject of controversy. Here we report stratigraphically extensive ice-rafted debris, including macroscopic dropstones, in late Eocene to early Oligocene sediments from the Norwegian-Greenland Sea that were deposited between about 38 and 30million years ago. Our data indicate sediment rafting by glacial ice, rather than sea ice, and point to East Greenland as the likely source. Records of this type from one site alone cannot be used to determine the extent of ice involved. However, our data suggest the existence of (at least) isolated glaciers on Greenland about 20million years earlier than previously documented, at a time when temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were substantially higher.

  3. Observing Changes in Near-Polar Glaciers in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrand, Nicholas E.; Machguth, Horst; Hagen, Jon Ove

    2013-06-01

    Approximately 50 researchers attended the Ice2sea North/South Glacier Workshop at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). The aim of the workshop was to highlight the importance of changes in Northern and Southern Hemisphere near-polar glacier systems, which are subject to rapid climate warming from the atmosphere and ocean. Other goals of the workshop were to identify the observations required to understand the changes in these glacier systems and to determine difficulties and opportunities for making future projections. The meeting also served to bring together a new community of researchers working on similar glaciological problems in distinct geographic regions (e.g., the Arctic, including Alaska; Patagonia; and the Antarctic Peninsula). Full details of the workshop agenda and organizing committee can be found in the workshop report at http://www.ice2sea.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Ice2sea_NSWorkshop_FINALREPORT_nosummary.pdf.

  4. Are seasonal calving dynamics forced by buttressing from ice mélange or undercutting by melting? Outcomes from full-Stokes simulations of Store Gletscher, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Todd, J.; Christoffersen, P.

    2014-07-01

    We use a full-Stokes 2-D model (Elmer/Ice) to investigate the flow and calving dynamics of Store Gletscher, a fast flowing outlet glacier in West Greenland. Based on a new, subgrid-scale implementation of the crevasse depth calving criterion, we perform two sets of simulations; one to identify the primary forcing mechanisms and another to constrain future stability. We find that the mixture of icebergs and sea-ice, known as ice mélange or sikussak, is principally responsible for the observed seasonal advance of the ice front, whereas submarine melting plays a secondary role. Sensitivity analysis demonstrates that the glacier's calving dynamics are sensitive to seasonal perturbation, but are stable on interannual timescales due to the glacier's topographic setting. Our results shed light on the dynamics of calving glaciers while explaining why neighbouring glaciers do not necessarily respond synchronously to changes in atmospheric and oceanic forcing.

  5. Multi-sensor detection of glacial lake outburst floods in Greenland from space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Citterio, M.

    2015-12-01

    GLOFs cause substantial erosion, transport and delivery of sediment along the river system from the glaciated parts of the hydrologic catchment to the sea, and have been found to control the riverine export dynamics of some pollutants like mercury in NE Greenland. GLOFs also pose a risk to human presence and infrastracture. Ice-dammed lakes at the margin of the ice sheet and of local glaciers and ice caps are common features of Greenland's landscape. The occasional or periodic emptying of some of these lakes have been described as early as the 18thcentury. Thinning glaciers in a warming climate are already changing the behaviour of some of these lakes. However, little is known of the frequency and seasonality of glacier lake outburst floods (GLOF) outside of the relatively more densely populated parts of West and South Greenland. This contribution demonstrates automatic multi-sensor detection of ice-dammed lake emptying events from space for three test regions in West, South and Northeast Greenland, using visible imagery from Landsat, ASTER, PROBA-V and MODIS. The current detection algorithm relies on prior knowledge of lakes location and approximate shape from a topographic map at the scale of 1:250.000, and it is meant as a prototype for a future operational product. For the well documented case of the glacier-dammed lake of A.P. Olsen Ice Cap (NE Greenland), where GLOF's observations at Zackenberg Research Station started in 1996, the remote sensing and in situ records are compared, showing good agreement. ICESat altimetry, MODIS and AVHRR thermal imagery, and the ENVISAR ASAR signature of two detected GLOFs that took place late autumn and winter are also discussed to demonstrate the potential for successful retrievals during the polar night. The upcoming Sentinel-3 missions will alleviate what is currently the major drawback of implementing this prototype into an operational service, namely the limited availability of high resolution imagery. This is of special

  6. Atuarfitsialak: Greenland's Cultural Compatible Reform

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wyatt, Tasha R.

    2012-01-01

    In 2002, Greenlandic reform leaders launched a comprehensive, nation-wide reform to create culturally compatible education. Greenland's reform work spans the entire educational system and includes preschool through higher education. To assist their efforts, reform leaders adopted the Standards for Effective Pedagogy developed at the Center for…

  7. Reconstructing surface elevation changes for the Greenland Ice Sheet (1993-2013) and analysis of Zachariae Isstrom, northeast Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duncan, Kyle

    Previous studies investigating the velocity and elevation change records of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) revealed rapid and complex changes. It is therefore imperative to determine changes with both high spatial and temporal resolutions. By fusing multiple laser altimetry data sets, the Surface Elevation Reconstruction and Change (SERAC) program is capable of reconstructing surface elevation changes with high spatial and temporal resolution over the entire GrIS. The input data include observations from NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) mission (2003-2009) as well as data collected by NASA's Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) (1993-2013) and Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS) (2007-2012) airborne laser altimetry systems. This study extends the record of surface elevation changes over the GrIS by adding 2012 and 2013 laser altimetry data to the previous 1993-2011 record. Extending the record leads to a new, more accurate and detailed altimetry record for 1993-2013. Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) are fused with laser altimetry data over Zachariae Isstrom, northeast Greenland to analyze surface elevation changes and associated thinning rates during 1978-2014. Little to no elevation change occurred over Zachariae Isstrom from 1978-1999, however, from 1999-2014 elevation changes near the calving front became increasingly negative and accelerated. Calving front position showed steady retreat and grounding line position has been retreating towards the interior of the ice sheet at an increasing rate from 2010-2014 when compared to the 1996-2010 period. The measured elevation changes near the calving front have brought a large portion of the glacier close to the height of flotation. If the current thinning trend continues this portion of the glacier will reach flotation within the next 2-5 years allowing for further retreat and increased vulnerability to retreat for sections of

  8. Twentieth century climate change: Evidence from small glaciers

    PubMed Central

    Dyurgerov, Mark B.; Meier, Mark F.

    2000-01-01

    The relation between changes in modern glaciers, not including the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, and their climatic environment is investigated to shed light on paleoglacier evidence of past climate change and for projecting the effects of future climate warming on cold regions of the world. Loss of glacier volume has been more or less continuous since the 19th century, but it is not a simple adjustment to the end of an “anomalous” Little Ice Age. We address the 1961–1997 period, which provides the most observational data on volume changes. These data show trends that are highly variable with time as well as within and between regions; trends in the Arctic are consistent with global averages but are quantitatively smaller. The averaged annual volume loss is 147 mm⋅yr−1 in water equivalent, totaling 3.7 × 103 km3 over 37 yr. The time series shows a shift during the mid-1970s, followed by more rapid loss of ice volume and further acceleration in the last decade; this is consistent with climatologic data. Perhaps most significant is an increase in annual accumulation along with an increase in melting; these produce a marked increase in the annual turnover or amplitude. The rise in air temperature suggested by the temperature sensitivities of glaciers in cold regions is somewhat greater than the global average temperature rise derived largely from low altitude gauges, and the warming is accelerating. PMID:10677474

  9. Termini of calving glaciers as self-organized critical systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Åström, J. A.; Vallot, D.; Schäfer, M.; Welty, E. Z.; O'Neel, S.; Bartholomaus, T. C.; Liu, Yan; Riikilä, T. I.; Zwinger, T.; Timonen, J.; Moore, J. C.

    2014-12-01

    Over the next century, one of the largest contributions to sea level rise will come from ice sheets and glaciers calving ice into the ocean. Factors controlling the rapid and nonlinear variations in calving fluxes are poorly understood, and therefore difficult to include in prognostic climate-forced land-ice models. Here we analyse globally distributed calving data sets from Svalbard, Alaska (USA), Greenland and Antarctica in combination with simulations from a first-principles, particle-based numerical calving model to investigate the size and inter-event time of calving events. We find that calving events triggered by the brittle fracture of glacier ice are governed by the same power-law distributions as avalanches in the canonical Abelian sandpile model. This similarity suggests that calving termini behave as self-organized critical systems that readily flip between states of sub-critical advance and super-critical retreat in response to changes in climate and geometric conditions. Observations of sudden ice-shelf collapse and tidewater glacier retreat in response to gradual warming of their environment are consistent with a system fluctuating around its critical point in response to changing external forcing. We propose that self-organized criticality provides a yet unexplored framework for investigations into calving and projections of sea level rise.

  10. Emerging technology monitors ice-sea interface at outlet glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dixon, Timothy H.; Voytenko, Denis; Lembke, Chad; de la Peña, Santiago; Howat, Ian; Gourmelen, Noel; Werner, Charles; Oddsson, Björn

    2012-11-01

    Recent melting in Greenland and Antarctica has led to concerns about the long-term stability of these ice sheets and their potential contributions to future sea level rise. Marine-terminating outlet glaciers play a key role in the dynamics of these ice sheets; recent mass losses are likely related to increased influx of warmer water to the base of outlet glaciers, as evidenced by the fact that changes in ocean currents, calving front retreats, glacial thinning, mass redistribution based on satellite gravity data, and accelerating coastal uplift are roughly concurrent [e.g., Holland et al., 2008; Wouters et al., 2008; Jiang et al., 2010; Straneo et al., 2012; Bevis et al., 2012]. However, collecting quantitative measurements within the dynamic environment of marine outlet glaciers is challenging. Oceanographic measurements are limited in iceberg-laden fjords. Measuring ice flow speeds near the calving front is similarly challenging; satellite methods lack temporal resolution (satellite revisit times are several days or longer), while GPS gives limited spatial resolution, a problem for assessing changes near the highly variable calving front.

  11. SeaWinds - Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    The frequent coverage provided by NASA's SeaWinds instrument on the QuikScat satellite provides unprecedented capability to monitor daily and seasonal changes in the key melt zones of Greenland, which is covered with a thick ice sheet that resulted from snow accumulating over tens of thousands of years. The thickness of the snow layers reveals details about the past global climate, and comparing snow accumulation and snow melting can provide insight into climate change and global warming. In particular, the extent of summer melting of snow in Greenland is considered a sensitive indicator of global change.

    Earlier scatterometer data has suggested that Greenland has experienced significantly more melting in recent years. This figure compares the melting observed over 15 days during July 1999 in Greenland. The red areas around the central blue and white areas are the main melt zones and have lower radar back scatter because of water on the surface that saturates the surface snow. As the days warm up, the melt extent dramatically increases. Comparing this data with computer models and past scatterometer data will help scientists evaluate the inter-annual variability of the melting as a step toward understanding potential climate change.

    The world's large ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica act as vast storehouses of freshwater. Summer season melting releases large quantities of freshwater into the ocean, and year-to-year variations can have a significant impact on global sea level. Furthermore, long-term changes in the patterns and extent of melting on the large ice sheets reflect the effects of climate variability; thus Greenland is considered a sensitive indicator of global warming.

    Satellite microwave radars are extremely sensitive to melting and can provide the only effective means of accurately measuring the year-round picture of the extent and variability in ice sheet melting. Daily mean images were produced from QuikScat data collected over the

  12. Observations from the Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andersen, S. B.; Ahlstrom, A. P.; Andersen, M. L.; Box, J. E.; Citterio, M.; Colgan, W. T.; Fausto, R. S.; van As, D.; Forsberg, R.; Skourup, H.; Sandberg Sørensen, L.; Kristensen, S. S.; Dall, J.; Kusk, A.; Petersen, D.

    2014-12-01

    The Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet (PROMICE) is as an on-going effort initiated in 2007 to monitor changes in the mass budget of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The aim of the programme is to quantify the mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet and track changes in the extent of the glaciers, ice caps and ice sheet margin. Specifically, PROMICE aims to estimate the mass loss derived from three fundamentally different sources: Surface melt water runoff from the ice sheet margin Iceberg production Mass loss of individual glaciers and ice caps surrounding the ice sheet The first is observed by a network of automatic weather stations (AWS) on the ice sheet margin measuring ice ablation as well as meteorological parameters. The second is determined by establishing a so-called 'flux gate' along the entire ice sheet margin and keeping track of the ice passing through this gate. The flux gate is obtained from airborne surveys of ice sheet surface elevation and thickness. The volume of the ice passing through the gate is derived from maps of the surface velocity of the ice sheet, produced from satellite radar. The third is investigated through regular mapping of area and elevation of the approximately 20.000 individual glaciers and ice caps in Greenland. Mapping is carried out using recent satellite imagery as well as aerial ortho-photos. Within PROMICE data sets from these activities are collected. They include observations from the network of currently about 20 AWS on the margin of the Greenland ice sheet. Airborne surveys, yielding surface elevation and ice depth along the entire margin of the Greenland ice sheet carried out in 2007 and 2011. A map of all Greenland ice masses, based on the highest detail aero-photogrammetric maps produced from mid-80's aerial photographs. Real-time data from the PROMICE AWS network is shown at the web site www.promice.org and the data is freely available for download. Data from the airborne surveys and mapping activities are

  13. Adventure Learning @ Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, B. G.; Cox, C. J.; Hougham, J.; Walden, V. P.; Eitel, K.; Albano, A.

    2013-12-01

    Teaching the general public and K-12 communities about scientific research has taken on greater importance as climate change increasingly impacts the world we live in. Science researchers and the educational community have a widening responsibility to produce and deliver curriculum and content that is timely, scientifically sound and engaging. To address this challenge, in the summer of 2012 the Adventure Learning @ Greenland (AL@GL) project, a United States' National Science Foundation (NSF) funded initiative, used hands-on and web-based climate science experiences for high school students to promote climate and science literacy. This presentation will report on an innovative approach to education and outreach for environmental science research known as Adventure Learning (AL). The purpose of AL@GL was to engage high school students in the US, and in Greenland, in atmospheric research that is being conducted in the Arctic to enhance climate and science literacy. Climate and science literacy was explored via three fundamental concepts: radiation, the greenhouse effect, and climate vs. weather. Over the course of the project, students in each location engaged in activities and conducted experiments through the use of scientific instrumentation. Students were taught science research principles associated with an atmospheric observatory at Summit Station, Greenland with the objective of connecting climate science in the Arctic to student's local environments. Summit Station is located on the Greenland Ice Sheet [72°N, 38°W, 3200 m] and was the primary location of interest. Approximately 35 students at multiple locations in Idaho, USA, and Greenland participated in the hybrid learning environments as part of this project. The AL@GL project engaged students in an inquiry-based curriculum with content that highlighted a cutting-edge geophysical research initiative at Summit: the Integrated Characterization of Energy, Clouds, Atmospheric state, and Precipitation at

  14. Steady-state simulations of the Greenland ice sheet using a three-dimensional full-Stokes model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seddik, H.; Greve, R.; Zwinger, T.; Gagliardini, O.

    2009-12-01

    A three-dimensional, thermo-mechanically coupled model is applied to the Greenland ice sheet. The model implements the full-Stokes equations for the ice dynamics, and the system is solved with the finite-element method (FEM) using the open source multi-physics package Elmer (http://www.csc.fi/elmer/). The finite-element mesh for the computational domain has been created using the Greenland surface and bedrock DEM data with a spatial resolution of 10 km. The study is particularly aimed at better understanding the ice dynamics near the major Greenland ice streams. For this purpose, mesh refinement to obtain improved computed solutions on these areas has been introduced. The meshing procedure starts with the bedrock footprint where a mesh with triangle elements and a resolution of 5 km are employed at the vicinities of the North-East Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) and the Jakobshavn (JIS), Kangerdlugssuaq (KL) and Helheim (HH) ice streams. A size function is then applied so that the mesh resolution becomes coarser away of the ice streams up to a maximum horizontal element size of 20 km. The final three-dimensional mesh is obtained by extruding the 2D footprint with 10 vertical layers, so that the resulting mesh contains 118944 prism elements and 69170 nodes. The numerical solution of the Stokes and the heat transfer equations involves direct and iterative solvers depending on the simulation case, and both methods are coupled with stabilization procedures. The boundary conditions are such that the temperature at the surface is parameterized as a function of the latitude and the surface elevation, the geothermal heat flux at the bedrock is prescribed as spatially constant and the lateral sides are open boundaries. The simulations have been conducted in order to obtain steady-state results for the velocity and temperature fields for the entire ice sheet. The model computes the results with both bedrock sliding and melting used alternatively so that their effects on

  15. Glacier albedo decrease in the European Alps: potential causes and links with mass balances

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Di Mauro, Biagio; Julitta, Tommaso; Colombo, Roberto

    2016-04-01

    Both mountain glaciers and polar ice sheets are losing mass all over the Earth. They are highly sensitive to climate variation, and the widespread reduction of glaciers has been ascribed to the atmospheric temperature increase. Beside this driver, also ice albedo plays a fundamental role in defining mass balance of glaciers. In fact, dark ice absorbs more energy causing faster glacier melting, and this can drive to more negative balances. Previous studies showed that the albedo of Himalayan glaciers and the Greenland Ice Sheet is decreasing with important rates. In this contribution, we tested the hypothesis that also glaciers in the European Alps are getting darker. We analyzed 16-year time series of MODIS (MODerate resolution Imaging Spectrometer) snow albedo from Terra (MOD13A1, 2000-2015) and Aqua (MYD13A1, 2002-2015) satellites. These data feature a spatial resolution of 500m and a daily temporal resolution. We evaluated the existence of a negative linear and nonlinear trend of the summer albedo values both at pixel and at glacier level. We also calculated the correlation between MODIS summer albedo and glacier mass balances (from the World Glaciological Monitoring Service, WGMS database), for all the glaciers with available mass balance during the considered period. In order to estimate the percentage of the summer albedo that can be explained by atmospheric temperature, we correlated MODIS albedo and monthly air temperature extracted from the ERA-Interim reanalysis dataset. Results show that decreasing trends exist with a strong spatial variability in the whole Alpine chain. In large glaciers, such as the Aletch (Swiss Alps), the trend varies significantly also within the glacier, showing that the trend is higher in the area across the accumulation and ablation zone. Over the 17 glaciers with mass balance available in the WGMS data set, 11 gave significant relationship with the MODIS summer albedo. Moreover, the comparison between ERA-Interim temperature

  16. CO2 evasion from the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ryu, J.; Jacobson, A. D.

    2010-12-01

    Greenland figures prominently in climate change predictions owing to the impact ice sheet melting will have on temperature, sea level, and possibly, ocean circulation. Here, we demonstrate that melting of the Greenland ice sheet also yields a sizable flux of atmospheric CO2 that will likely increase in a warmer world. We analyzed the major ion and dissolved carbonate geochemistry of the Akuliarusiarsuup Kuua River draining the Russell Glacier near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. Water emerges from beneath the ice sheet with CO2 partial pressures 3 - 10X supersaturated with respect to atmospheric equilibrium. This CO2 may originate from microbial respiration beneath the ice sheet. During downstream transport, CO2 evades to the atmosphere, but the chemical weathering of highly reactive glacial till sequesters 2 - 7X more as HCO3, a temporary carbon sink. However, only a 2X increase in the initial CO2 partial pressure is required to reverse the balance between evasion and weathering, and we suggest that significantly greater increases could occur as retreat of the ice sheet margin and expansion of moulins exposes melt water to interior basal ice, which has CO2 partial pressures over 450X higher than the current atmospheric value (Souchez et al., 1995). Extrapolated across all of Greenland, worst-case model predictions suggest net evasion fluxes of 0.14 - 0.27 Pg C/yr by 2100 depending whether melting increases linearly or exponentially with time. These estimates are close to the lower range recently identified for permafrost thaw (Schuur et al., 2009). This study highlights a new and potentially important positive feedback between anthropogenic greenhouse forcing, ice sheet decay, and climate change.

  17. Listening to Glaciers: Passive hydroacoustics near marine-terminating glaciers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pettit, E.C.; Nystuen, J.A.; O'Neel, Shad

    2012-01-01

    The catastrophic breakup of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea in 2002 paints a vivid portrait of the effects of glacier-climate interactions. This event, along with other unexpected episodes of rapid mass loss from marine-terminating glaciers (i.e., tidewater glaciers, outlet glaciers, ice streams, ice shelves) sparked intensified study of the boundaries where marine-terminating glaciers interact with the ocean. These dynamic and dangerous boundaries require creative methods of observation and measurement. Toward this effort, we take advantage of the exceptional sound-propagating properties of seawater to record and interpret sounds generated at these glacial ice-ocean boundaries from distances safe for instrument deployment and operation.

  18. Bed topography under Antarctic outlet glaciers revealed by mass conservation and radar data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morlighem, M.; Rignot, E. J.; Mouginot, J.; Seroussi, H. L.

    2015-12-01

    Bed topography, together with ice thickness, is an essential characteristic of glaciers and ice sheets for many glaciological applications. Despite significant technical advances, it remains challenging to measure ice thickness remotely, especially in deep troughs occupied by outlet glaciers. The method of mass conservation, that combines radar-derived ice thickness data with high-resolution InSAR-derived ice velocity vectors, provides an effective method for generating a high-resolution bed from sparse radar sounding profiles, and has been successfully applied along the coast of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Applying the same technique to the coast of the Antarctic Ice Sheet presents a number of challenges. The coverage of ice thickness data collected in Antarctica, for example, is much less comprehensive compared to Greenland, especially in the wake of NASA's Operation IceBridge (OIB) Mission in 2010-2015. Here, we combine radar sounder data collected by various centers (OIB/Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, the British Antarctic Survey and University of Texas) acquired between 1998 and 2011, with high-resolution ice motion data from interferometric SAR (ALOS PALSAR, RADARSAT-2 and Envisat ASAR) to reconstruct bed topography beneath major Antarctic outlet glaciers at an unprecedented level of detail. The results reveal some important features not known previously at that level of detail and shed light on the vulnerability of these glaciers in a warming climate. We find for example that Recovery glacier is deeper than in previous mappings and has long grooves parallel to the flow direction. Denman Glacier, East Antarctica, flow along a deep, narrow trough more than 2,000 m below sea level that extends more than 100 km inland. We find ridges and bumps in the vicinity of the grounding line of Thwaites Glacier, in the Amundsen Sea sector, that are consistent with the pattern of grounding line retreat. We have also a new mapping of the trough upstream of David

  19. Glaciers and small ice caps in the macro-scale hydrological cycle - an assessment of present conditions and future changes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lammers, Richard; Hock, Regine; Prusevich, Alexander; Bliss, Andrew; Radic, Valentina; Glidden, Stanley; Grogan, Danielle; Frolking, Steve

    2014-05-01

    Glacier and small ice cap melt water contributions to the global hydrologic cycle are an important component of human water supply and for sea level rise. This melt water is used in many arid and semi-arid parts of the world for direct human consumption as well as indirect consumption by irrigation for crops, serving as frozen reservoirs of water that supplement runoff during warm and dry periods of summer when it is needed the most. Additionally, this melt water reaching the oceans represents a direct input to sea level rise and therefore accurate estimates of this contribution have profound economic and geopolitical implications. It has been demonstrated that, on the scale of glacierized river catchments, land surface hydrological models can successfully simulate glacier contribution to streamflow. However, at global scales, the implementation of glacier melt in hydrological models has been rudimentary or non-existent. In this study, a global glacier mass balance model is coupled with the University of New Hampshire Water Balance/Transport Model (WBM) to assess recent and projected future glacier contributions to the hydrological cycle over the global land surface (excluding the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica). For instance, results of WBM simulations indicate that seasonal glacier melt water in many arid climate watersheds comprises 40 % or more of their discharge. Implicitly coupled glacier and WBM models compute monthly glacier mass changes and resulting runoff at the glacier terminus for each individual glacier from the globally complete Randolph Glacier Inventory including over 200 000 glaciers. The time series of glacier runoff is aggregated over each hydrological modeling unit and delivered to the hydrological model for routing downstream and mixing with non-glacial contribution of runoff to each drainage basin outlet. WBM tracks and uses glacial and non-glacial components of the in-stream water for filling reservoirs, transfers of water between

  20. Greenland ice sheet mass balance: a review.

    PubMed

    Khan, Shfaqat A; Aschwanden, Andy; Bjørk, Anders A; Wahr, John; Kjeldsen, Kristian K; Kjær, Kurt H

    2015-04-01

    Over the past quarter of a century the Arctic has warmed more than any other region on Earth, causing a profound impact on the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) and its contribution to the rise in global sea level. The loss of ice can be partitioned into processes related to surface mass balance and to ice discharge, which are forced by internal or external (atmospheric/oceanic/basal) fluctuations. Regardless of the measurement method, observations over the last two decades show an increase in ice loss rate, associated with speeding up of glaciers and enhanced melting. However, both ice discharge and melt-induced mass losses exhibit rapid short-term fluctuations that, when extrapolated into the future, could yield erroneous long-term trends. In this paper we review the GrIS mass loss over more than a century by combining satellite altimetry, airborne altimetry, interferometry, aerial photographs and gravimetry data sets together with modelling studies. We revisit the mass loss of different sectors and show that they manifest quite different sensitivities to atmospheric and oceanic forcing. In addition, we discuss recent progress in constructing coupled ice-ocean-atmosphere models required to project realistic future sea-level changes. PMID:25811969

  1. Chernobyl fallout on Alpine glaciers

    SciTech Connect

    Ambach, W.; Rehwald, W.; Blumthaler, M.; Eisner, H.; Brunner, P.

    1989-01-01

    Measurements of the gross beta activity of snow samples from four Alpine glaciers contaminated by radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear accident and a gamma-spectrum analysis of selected samples are reported. The results are discussed with respect to possible risks to the population from using meltwater from these glaciers as drinking water.

  2. Malaspina Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2001-01-01

    This image from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite covers an area of 55 by 40 kilometers (34 by 25 miles) over the southwest part of the Malaspina Glacier and Icy Bay in Alaska. The composite of infrared and visible bands results in the snow and ice appearing light blue, dense vegetation is yellow-orange and green, and less vegetated, gravelly areas are in orange. According to Dr. Dennis Trabant (U.S. Geological Survey, Fairbanks, Alaska), the Malaspina Glacier is thinning. Its terminal moraine protects it from contact with the open ocean; without the moraine, or if sea level rises sufficiently to reconnect the glacier with the ocean, the glacier would start calving and retreat significantly. ASTER data are being used to help monitor the size and movement of some 15,000 tidal and piedmont glaciers in Alaska. Evidence derived from ASTER and many other satellite and ground-based measurements suggests that only a few dozen Alaskan glaciers are advancing. The overwhelming majority of them are retreating.

    This ASTER image was acquired on June 8, 2001. With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region, and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER will image Earth for the next six years to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet.

    ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18,1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products. Dr. Anne Kahle at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., is the U.S. science team leader; Bjorn Eng of JPL is the project manager. ASTER is the only high-resolution imaging sensor on Terra. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, along-term research and

  3. Greenland Sea observations

    SciTech Connect

    Gudmandsen, P.; Mortensen, H.B.; Pedersen, L.T.; Skriver, H.; Minnett, P.

    1992-12-31

    ERS-1 SAR data have been acquired over the Greenland Sea and Fram Strait during two periods, the Ice Phase of three-day repeat cycle from January to March 1992 and a one-month period in the 35-day repeat cycle from 16 July to 15 August 1992. Most data became available by way of the Broadband Data Dissemination System, i.e. with a spatial resolution of about 100 m. With these data various algorithms have been tested to derive sea ice parameters such as ice extent, ice concentration and ice displacement. In the latter period data were collected to support the activities of a research vessel in the area mainly related to the large polynyas that form east and north of Greenland. The formation of polynyas could clearly be outlined but also other phenomena were observed related to the influence of wind streets and gravity waves associated with the atmospheric boundary layer. The data will have to be studied further including full-resolution data to substantiate the conclusions arrived at.

  4. Sonification of cryoconite landscapes over the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tedesco, M.

    2015-12-01

    Sonification is the use of non-speech audio to convey information. In sonification, several elements can be altered, modified or manipulated to change the perception of the sound, and in turn, the perception of the information being transmitted. For example, an increase or decrease in pitch, tempo and amplitude can be used to convey the information but this can also happen by varying other less commonly used components. One of the advantages of using sonification lies in the temporal, spatial, amplitude, and frequency resolution that offer complementary and supplementary possibilities with respect to visualization techniques. Two years ago, the outcomes of the PolarSEEDS project (www.polaseeds.org), consisting of sonification of time series of albedo, melting and surface temperature over the Greenland ice sheet, were presented in this very same session. The work that I will discuss in this presentation builds on the PolarSEEDS experience, focusing on the fascinating microcosm of cryoconite. Cryoconite is a unique and extremely fascinating form of glacial cover consisting of aggregated rock dust, inorganic and detrital organic matter, and active microbial colonies. It can be seen as 'living stones', with this ecosystem containing the only form of life that is sustained on the majestic surface of the Greenland ice sheet. Microbes are, indeed, the catalyst for cryoconite formation and growth. The cryoconite constituents radiate metabolic heat promoting glacier hole development, melt water formation, and decreasing glacier surface albedo. Lower albedos cause a positive feedback that further contributes to glacier ablation. Despite their importance, cryoconite systems are poorly studied and little is known about their evolution. In the talk, I will first present and discuss previous sonification projects whose main focus was on the polar regions; then, I will present new sonifications based on data quantifying the distribution and evolution of cryoconite over the west

  5. Particulate organic matter composition and organic carbon flux in Arctic valley glaciers: examples from the Bayelva River and adjacent Kongsfjorden

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Z.-Y.; Wu, Y.; Liu, S.-M.; Wenger, F.; Hu, J.; Zhang, J.; Zhang, R.-F.

    2015-09-01

    In the face of ongoing global warming and glacier retreat, the composition and flux of organic matter in glacier-fjord systems are key variables for updating the carbon cycle and budget, whereas the role of Arctic valley glaciers seems unimportant when compared with the huge Greenland Ice Sheet. Our field observations of the glacier-fed Bayelva River, Svalbard, and the adjacent Kongsfjorden allowed us to determine the compositions of particulate organic matter from glacier to fjord and also to estimate the flux of organic carbon, both for the river and for Svalbard in general. Particulate organic carbon (POC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the Bayelva River averaged 56 and 73 μM, respectively, in August 2012. Amino acids (AAs) and phytoplankton pigments accounted for ~ 10 % of the particulate organic matter (POM) in the Bayelva River, while AAs represented > 90 % of particulate nitrogen in fjord surface water, suggesting the strong in situ assimilation of organic matter. Bacteria accounts for 13 and 19 % of the POC in the Bayelva River and the Kongsfjorden, respectively, while values for particulate nitrogen (PN) are much higher (i.e., 36 % in Kongsfjorden). The total discharge from the Bayelva River in 2012 was 29 × 106 m3. Furthermore, we calculated the annual POC, DOC, and PN fluxes for the river as 20 ± 1.6, 25 ± 5.6, and 4.7 ± 0.75 t, respectively. Using the POC content and DOC concentration data, we then estimated the annual POC and DOC fluxes for Svalbard glaciers. Although the estimated POC (0.056 ± 0.02 × 106 t yr-1) and DOC (0.02 ± 0.01 × 106 t yr-1) fluxes of Svalbard glaciers are small compared with those of the Greenland Ice Sheet, the area-weighted POC flux of Svalbard glaciers is twice that of the Greenland Ice Sheet, while the flux of DOC can be 4 to 7 times higher. Therefore, we propose that valley glaciers are efficient high-latitude sources of organic carbon.

  6. Using Remote Sensing and Rpas for Archaeology and Monitoring in Western Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pavelka, K.; Šedina, J.; Matoušková, E.; Faltýnová, M.; Hlaváčová, I.

    2016-06-01

    Since 2002, German low-cost scientific expeditions to Greenland have been performed. The objective was a geodetic survey and glaciology with GNSS technology - mainly the measurement of glacier profiles (height). The same glacier profiles along the route were measured during German expeditions in 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2015. The last international expedition was supplemented with RPAS (UAV) measurement, the testing of small corner reflectors for Terra SAR X satellite measurement and the use of image based modelling technology for historical monuments documentation, all in specific arctic conditions. The RPAS measurement was focused on the documentation of existing valuable archaeological sites near Ilulissat city and the testing of RPAS technology for the monitoring of the face of the moving glacier. Two typical church wooden constructions were documented by simple photogrammetric technology based on image correlation. Both experiments were evaluated as successfully case projects. The last part of the experiments deals with the monitoring of a moving inland glacier using SAR technology; four corner reflectors were installed on the glacier and on a massive nearby rock. Two ascending and two descending overflights of the Terra SAR X satellite in fine resolution mode were performed. The InSAR technology give inconclusive results, but some movements were detected; small and inexpensive corner reflectors of our own production have proven suitable. Experience and expertise from the measurement such as the first outputs from the expedition are the content of the present article.

  7. Glacier velocities and dynamic ice discharge from the Queen Elizabeth Islands, Nunavut, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Wychen, Wesley; Burgess, David O.; Gray, Laurence; Copland, Luke; Sharp, Martin; Dowdeswell, Julian A.; Benham, Toby J.

    2014-01-01

    Recent studies indicate an increase in glacier mass loss from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago as a result of warmer summer air temperatures. However, no complete assessment of dynamic ice discharge from this region exists. We present the first complete surface velocity mapping of all ice masses in the Queen Elizabeth Islands and show that these ice masses discharged ~2.6 ± 0.8 Gt a-1 of ice to the oceans in winter 2012. Approximately 50% of the dynamic discharge was channeled through non surge-type Trinity and Wykeham Glaciers alone. Dynamic discharge of the surge-type Mittie Glacier varied from 0.90 ± 0.09 Gt a-1 during its 2003 surge to 0.02 ± 0.02 Gt a-1 during quiescence in 2012, highlighting the importance of surge-type glaciers for interannual variability in regional mass loss. Queen Elizabeth Islands glaciers currently account for ~7.5% of reported dynamic discharge from Arctic ice masses outside Greenland.

  8. Recession of Thwaites Glacier: inferring relevant processes using the ice sheet model Elmer/Ice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Merino, Nacho; Durand, Gael; Gillet-Chaulet, Fabien; Gourmelen, Noel; Stumpf, Andre; Lampert, Thomas; Gagliardini, Olivier

    2014-05-01

    Numerous studies focusing on ice sheets mass balance clearly show an increasing ice discharge mainly induced by the acceleration of ice flow through coastal outlet glaciers. As a crucial impact, imbalance of both Greenland and Antarctica is today an essential driver of the current sea level rise. In the specific case of West Antarctica, the Amundsen Sea sector is the most impacted region and current recession may be the first sign of a large, unstable and irrevocable retreat of the whole region. Projecting the forthcoming behavior of that sector in general, and the most out of balance Pine Island and Thwaites Glacier is therefore a large matter of concern. Using notably the 3D full-Stokes ice sheet model Elmer/Ice, a recent study has shown that the Pine Island Glacier retreat is currently driven by marine ice sheet instability. Here, we use similar methodologies to investigate the condition of stability of the neighboring Thwaites glacier. In particular, we focus on the effect of ice rises and induced crevasses onto the ice flow and show that their impact is of crucial importance prior to any attempt of projecting the short term response of Twaites glacier.

  9. Polythermal Glacier Hydrology: A Review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Irvine-Fynn, Tristram D. L.; Hodson, Andrew J.; Moorman, Brian J.; Vatne, Geir; Hubbard, Alun L.

    2011-11-01

    The manner by which meltwater drains through a glacier is critical to ice dynamics, runoff characteristics, and water quality. However, much of the contemporary knowledge relating to glacier hydrology has been based upon, and conditioned by, understanding gleaned from temperate valley glaciers. Globally, a significant proportion of glaciers and ice sheets exhibit nontemperate thermal regimes. The recent, growing concern over the future response of polar glaciers and ice sheets to forecasts of a warming climate and lengthening summer melt season necessitates recognition of the hydrological processes in these nontemperate ice masses. It is therefore timely to present an accessible review of the scientific progress in glacial hydrology where nontemperate conditions are dominant. This review provides an appraisal of the glaciological literature from nontemperate glaciers, examining supraglacial, englacial, and subglacial environments in sequence and their role in hydrological processes within glacierized catchments. In particular, the variability and complexity in glacier thermal regimes are discussed, illustrating how a unified model of drainage architecture is likely to remain elusive due to structural controls on the presence of water. Cold ice near glacier surfaces may reduce meltwater flux into the glacier interior, but observations suggest that the transient thermal layer of near surface ice holds a hydrological role as a depth-limited aquifer. Englacial flowpaths may arise from the deep incision of supraglacial streams or the propagation of hydrofractures, forms which are readily able to handle varied meltwater discharge or act as locations for water storage, and result in spatially discrete delivery of water to the subglacial environment. The influence of such drainage routes on seasonal meltwater release is explored, with reference to summer season upwellings and winter icing formation. Moreover, clear analogies emerge between nontemperate valley glacier and

  10. Modelling the dynamic response of Jakobshavn Isbræ, West Greenland, to calving rate perturbations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bondzio, J. H.; Seroussi, H.; Morlighem, M.; Kleiner, T.; Rückamp, M.; Humbert, A.; Larour, E.

    2015-10-01

    Calving is a major means of ice discharge of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets. The breaking off of icebergs changes the ice front configuration of marine terminating glaciers, which affects the stress regime of their upstream areas. Recent observations show the close correlation between the ice front position and the behaviour of many outlet glaciers. However, modelling of a glacier subject to calving poses various challenges. No universal calving rate parametrisation is known, and tracking of a moving ice front and the related boundary conditions in two or three spatial dimensions is non-trivial. Here, we present the theoretical and technical framework for a Level-Set Method, an implicit boundary tracking scheme, which we implemented into the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM). The scheme allows us to study the dynamic response of a drainage basin to user-defined front ablation rates. We apply the method in a suite of experiments to Jakobshavn Isbræ, a major marine terminating outlet glacier of the western Greenland Ice Sheet. The model robustly reproduces the high sensitivity of the glacier to frontal ablation in form of calving. We find that enhanced calving is able to trigger significant acceleration of the ice stream. Upstream acceleration is sustained through a combination of various feedback mechanisms. However, lateral stress and ice influx into the trough are able to stabilise the ice stream. This study contributes to the present discussion on causes and effects of the continued changes occurring at Jakobshavn Isbræ, and emphasises that the incorporation of seasonal calving and dynamic lateral effects is key for realistic model projections of future global sea level rise on centennial time scales.

  11. Joint Science Education Project: Learning about polar science in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foshee Reed, Lynn

    2014-05-01

    their states, regions, and countries with one another. A subset of the Field School students continue their polar science exploration by traveling to and experiencing science at the top of the Greenlandic ice sheet, as participants in Arctic Science Education Week. They launched weather balloons, took measurements of reflectivity to learn more about albedo, studied glaciers and ice sheets and created hands-on models to study their flow, shadowed the Summit science technicians on their rounds, practiced taking clean snow samples, examined a back-lit snow pit to observe the differences between seasonal snows and ice formation, and assisted researchers by taking samples from the snow pit for isotope analysis. Lastly, I will share one group multi- and interdisciplinary activity used at JSEP which illustrates how to combine mathematics and science with global studies. As noted in the Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 initiative: "The challenges facing our planet and our civilization are multidisciplinary and multifaceted, and the mathematical sciences play a central role in the scientific effort to understand and to deal with these challenges." In particular, this group activity uses mathematical modeling and data representation to spark a discussion of civic engagement and to raise awareness that the polar regions are critically important to the global system.

  12. Investigating the flow and stress regime at the front of a tidewater outlet glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mercenier, Rémy; Luethi, Martin; Vieli, Andreas; Rohner, Christoph; Small, David

    2016-04-01

    Dynamic changes in ocean-terminating glaciers are responsible for approximately half of the current high rate of mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet. The related calving process, which occurs when the stresses at the calving front exceed the fracture toughness of ice, is still not well understood and poorly represented in current generation ice-sheet models, but is a crucial requisite to understand and model dynamics and future mass loss of the ice sheet. Here, we use a two-dimensional finite-element model to compute the stress and flow fields near the front of a tidewater outlet glacier. First, we perform a sensitivity analysis for an idealized glacier exploring the effects of variable calving front slope, water depth and basal sliding. We then apply the model to two flowlines of Eqip Sermia, an ocean terminating outlet glacier in West Greenland. Detailed velocity and geometry measurements obtained from terrestrial radar interferometry serve as constraints to the model. These flowline geometries and velocities strongly differ. One flowline ends with a ˜ 50 meter vertical cliff, close to floatation, while the other has a 150-200 meter high grounded front with a ˜ 45° slope and for which extrusion flow is observed. These different geometry settings lead to substantial difference in stress and flow regimes. This stress analysis improves our understanding of how and where the ice is susceptible to failure and crevasse formation for different idealized as well as real conditions. In further work, we aim to use this information as a constraint to investigate the short-term and long-term processes related to outlet glacier calving.

  13. Greenland meltwater experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olsen, S. M.; Schmith, T.

    2012-04-01

    We explore the climatic response to additional Greenland Ice Sheet melting in the EC-EARTH coupled climate model. As reference runs, we use an ensemble of two simulations from 1850 to present with historic forcing. For each of these we pick the years 1935,1950 and 1965, respectively as initial conditions for perturbed experiments with an additional freshwater forcing of 0.1 Sv distributed uniformly around Greenland , a plausible value in the upper end of future Greenland ice sheet melt estimates. We find give no evidence for abrupt transitions associated with tipping points in the Atlantic overturning circulation and mid-latitude heat transport. In fact, modelled decline in overturning in response to the additional forcing does not project onto a comparable reduction in the mid latitude (36N) ocean heat transport. This result points to an ongoing watermass transformation in the subpolar region and Arctic Mediterranean as a whole and a continued thermal mode of operation of the overturning. At the northern boundary of the subpolar region (60N) the response in overturning shows a contrasting increase in intensity along with an increase in heat transport. Whereas the latter may be expected as a result of freshwater capping and subsurface warming in the subpolar region, the increased overturning at 60N is more difficult to explain. In order to assess this in more detail we have quantified the individual thermohaline exchange components of light and dense water masses across the Greenland-Scotland Ridge. We find that the intensified overturning at 60N is reflected in increased transports of light Atlantic Water to the Nordic Seas. However, the vertical, thermohalinie overturning loop is not equally strengthened. On the contrary, we model a decline in the denser parts of the outflow, the overflows in the Denmark Strait and Faroe Bank Channel and a strong increase in the polar outflow in the Denmark Strait. We observe a gradual transition from a vertical mode of operation

  14. Digital elevation model and orthophotographs of Greenland based on aerial photographs from 1978-1987.

    PubMed

    Korsgaard, Niels J; Nuth, Christopher; Khan, Shfaqat A; Kjeldsen, Kristian K; Bjørk, Anders A; Schomacker, Anders; Kjær, Kurt H

    2016-01-01

    Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) play a prominent role in glaciological studies for the mass balance of glaciers and ice sheets. By providing a time snapshot of glacier geometry, DEMs are crucial for most glacier evolution modelling studies, but are also important for cryospheric modelling in general. We present a historical medium-resolution DEM and orthophotographs that consistently cover the entire surroundings and margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet 1978-1987. About 3,500 aerial photographs of Greenland are combined with field surveyed geodetic ground control to produce a 25 m gridded DEM and a 2 m black-and-white digital orthophotograph. Supporting data consist of a reliability mask and a photo footprint coverage with recording dates. Through one internal and two external validation tests, this DEM shows an accuracy better than 10 m horizontally and 6 m vertically while the precision is better than 4 m. This dataset proved successful for topographical mapping and geodetic mass balance. Other uses include control and calibration of remotely sensed data such as imagery or InSAR velocity maps. PMID:27164457

  15. Digital elevation model and orthophotographs of Greenland based on aerial photographs from 1978–1987

    PubMed Central

    Korsgaard, Niels J.; Nuth, Christopher; Khan, Shfaqat A.; Kjeldsen, Kristian K.; Bjørk, Anders A.; Schomacker, Anders; Kjær, Kurt H.

    2016-01-01

    Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) play a prominent role in glaciological studies for the mass balance of glaciers and ice sheets. By providing a time snapshot of glacier geometry, DEMs are crucial for most glacier evolution modelling studies, but are also important for cryospheric modelling in general. We present a historical medium-resolution DEM and orthophotographs that consistently cover the entire surroundings and margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet 1978–1987. About 3,500 aerial photographs of Greenland are combined with field surveyed geodetic ground control to produce a 25 m gridded DEM and a 2 m black-and-white digital orthophotograph. Supporting data consist of a reliability mask and a photo footprint coverage with recording dates. Through one internal and two external validation tests, this DEM shows an accuracy better than 10 m horizontally and 6 m vertically while the precision is better than 4 m. This dataset proved successful for topographical mapping and geodetic mass balance. Other uses include control and calibration of remotely sensed data such as imagery or InSAR velocity maps. PMID:27164457

  16. Oceanic response to buoyancy, wind and tidal forcing in a Greenlandic glacial fjord

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carroll, D.; Sutherland, D.; Shroyer, E.; Nash, J. D.

    2013-12-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate. This acceleration may in part be due to changes in oceanic heat transport to marine-terminating outlet glaciers. Ocean heat transport to glaciers depends upon fjord dynamics, which include buoyancy-driven estuarine exchange flow, tides, internal waves, turbulent mixing, and connections to the continental shelf. A 3D model of Rink Isbrae fjord in West Greenland is used to investigate the role of ocean forcing on heat transport to the glacier face. Initial conditions are prescribed from oceanographic field data collected in Summer 2013; wind and tidal forcing, along with meltwater flux, are varied in individual model runs. Subglacial meltwater flux values range from 25-500 m3 s-1. For low discharge values, a subsurface plume drives circulation in the fjord. Our simulations indicate that offshore wind forcing is the dominant mechanism for exchange flow between the fjord and the continental shelf. These results show that glacial fjord circulation is a complex, 3D process with multi-cell estuarine circulation and large velocity shears due to coastal winds. Our results are a first step towards a realistic 3D representation of a high-latitude glacial fjord in a numerical model, and will provide insight to future observational studies.

  17. Comprehensive spatiotemporal glacier and ice sheet velocity measurements from Landsat 8

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moon, Twila; Fahnestock, Mark; Scambos, Ted; Klinger, Marin; Haran, Terry

    2015-04-01

    Combining newly developed software with Landsat 8 image returns, we are now producing broad-coverage ice velocity measurements on weekly to monthly scales across ice sheets and glaciers. Using new image-to-image cross correlation software, named PyCorr, we take advantage of the improved radiometric resolution of the Landsat 8 panchromatic band to create velocity maps with sub-pixel accuracy. Landsat 8's 12-bit radiometric resolution supports measurement of ice flow in uncrevassed regions based on persistent sastrugi patterns lasting weeks to a few months. We also leverage these improvements to allow for ice sheet surface roughness measurements. Landsat 8's 16-day repeat orbit and increased image acquisition across the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets supports development of seasonal to annual ice sheet velocity mosaics with full coverage of coastal regions. We also create time series for examining sub-seasonal change with near real time processing in areas such as the Amundsen Sea Embayment and fast flowing Greenland outlet glaciers. In addition, excellent geolocation accuracy enables velocity mapping of smaller ice caps and glaciers, which we have already applied in Alaska and Patagonia. Finally, PyCorr can be used for velocity mapping with other remote sensing imagery, including high resolution WorldView satellite data.

  18. Spatial patterns in backscatter strength across the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jezek, K. C.

    1993-01-01

    The relationship between the physical properties of the Greenland ice sheet and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data collected from aircraft and from ERS-1 is addressed. Limited aircraft data are combined with a description of the glacier surface to predict qualitatively the spatial and seasonal variation in backscatter strength across the ice sheet. In particular the model predicts relatively low backscatter near the ice edge where scattering is dominated by rough surface effects. Backscatter increases through the lake zone as volume scattering becomes important. Strongest backscatter is found in the percolation facies where volume scatter from snow grains and volume scatter from large, buried ice bodies becomes important. Backscatter weakens in the interior ice sheet where fine grained snow is the only mechanism producing backscatter.

  19. Application of terrestrial 'structure-from-motion' photogrammetry on a medium-size Arctic valley glacier: potential, accuracy and limitations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hynek, Bernhard; Binder, Daniel; Boffi, Geo; Schöner, Wolfgang; Verhoeven, Geert

    2014-05-01

    Terrestrial photogrammetry was the standard method for mapping high mountain terrain in the early days of mountain cartography, until it was replaced by aerial photogrammetry and airborne laser scanning. Modern low-price digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras and highly automatic and cheap digital computer vision software with automatic image matching and multiview-stereo routines suggest the rebirth of terrestrial photogrammetry, especially in remote regions, where airborne surveying methods are expensive due to high flight costs. Terrestrial photogrammetry and modern automated image matching is widely used in geodesy, however, its application in glaciology is still rare, especially for surveying ice bodies at the scale of some km², which is typical for valley glaciers. In August 2013 a terrestrial photogrammetric survey was carried out on Freya Glacier, a 6km² valley glacier next to Zackenberg Research Station in NE-Greenland, where a detailed glacier mass balance monitoring was initiated during the last IPY. Photos with a consumer grade digital camera (Nikon D7100) were taken from the ridges surrounding the glacier. To create a digital elevation model, the photos were processed with the software photoscan. A set of ~100 dGPS surveyed ground control points on the glacier surface was used to georeference and validate the final DEM. Aim of this study was to produce a high resolution and high accuracy DEM of the actual surface topography of the Freya glacier catchment with a novel approach and to explore the potential of modern low-cost terrestrial photogrammetry combined with state-of-the-art automated image matching and multiview-stereo routines for glacier monitoring and to communicate this powerful and cheap method within the environmental research and glacier monitoring community.

  20. Modelling water flow under glaciers and ice sheets

    PubMed Central

    Flowers, Gwenn E.

    2015-01-01

    Recent observations of dynamic water systems beneath the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have sparked renewed interest in modelling subglacial drainage. The foundations of today's models were laid decades ago, inspired by measurements from mountain glaciers, discovery of the modern ice streams and the study of landscapes evacuated by former ice sheets. Models have progressed from strict adherence to the principles of groundwater flow, to the incorporation of flow ‘elements’ specific to the subglacial environment, to sophisticated two-dimensional representations of interacting distributed and channelized drainage. Although presently in a state of rapid development, subglacial drainage models, when coupled to models of ice flow, are now able to reproduce many of the canonical phenomena that characterize this coupled system. Model calibration remains generally out of reach, whereas widespread application of these models to large problems and real geometries awaits the next level of development. PMID:27547082

  1. Beardmore Glacier proposals wanted

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Proposals for research projects to be conducted in the upper Beardmore Glacier area of Antarctica during the 1985-1986 field season are being accepted by t h e National Science Foundation (NSF) through August 15. Later proposal submissions should be discussed with the appropriate program managers (see below).A temporary camp with helicopter support will be established in the region. Occupation by scientific parties will likely be between mid-November 1985 and mid-January 1986. Transportation in the field will be by UH1-N twin-engine Huey helicopters (with a range of approximately 185 km) and by motor toboggans. Satellite tent camps will be established within the range of the helicopters. The exact position of the main camp will be determined in November. Likely candidates, however, are Buckley Island Quadrangle, in the area of the Walcott Névé or the Bowden Névé, near Coalsack Bluff or Mount Sirius.

  2. Antarctic Peninsula Tidewater Glacier Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pettit, E. C.; Scambos, T. A.; Haran, T. M.; Wellner, J. S.; Domack, E. W.; Vernet, M.

    2015-12-01

    The northern Antarctic Peninsula (nAP, north of 66°S) is a north-south trending mountain range extending transverse across the prevailing westerly winds of the Southern Ocean resulting in an extreme west-to-east precipitation gradient. Snowfall on the west side of the AP is one to two orders of magnitude higher than the east side. This gradient drives short, steep, fast-flowing glaciers into narrow fjords on the west side, while longer lower-sloping glaciers flow down the east side into broader fjord valleys. This pattern in ice dynamics affects ice-ocean interaction on timescales of decades to centuries, and shapes the subglacial topography and submarine bathymetry on timescales of glacial cycles. In our study, we calculate ice flux for the western and eastern nAP using a drainage model that incorporates the modern ice surface topography, the RACMO-2 precipitation estimate, and recent estimates of ice thinning. Our results, coupled with observed rates of ice velocity from InSAR (I. Joughin, personal communication) and Landsat 8 -derived flow rates (this study), provide an estimate of ice thickness and fjord depth in grounded-ice areas for the largest outlet glaciers. East-side glaciers either still terminate in or have recently terminated in ice shelves. Sedimentary evidence from the inner fjords of the western glaciers indicates they had ice shelves during LIA time, and may still have transient floating ice tongues (tabular berg calvings are observed). Although direct oceanographic evidence is limited, the high accumulation rate and rapid ice flux implies cold basal ice for the western nAP glaciers and therefore weak subglacial discharge relative to eastern nAP glaciers and or other tidewater fjord systems such as in Alaska. Finally, despite lower accumulation rates on the east side, the large elongate drainage basins result in a greater ice flux funneled through fewer deeper glaciers. Due to the relation between ice flux and erosion, these east-side glaciers

  3. Flow instabilities of Alaskan glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turrin, James Bradley

    Over 300 of the largest glaciers in southern Alaska have been identified as either surge-type or pulse-type, making glaciers with flow instabilities the norm among large glaciers in that region. Consequently, the bulk of mass loss due to climate change will come from these unstable glaciers in the future, yet their response to future climate warming is unknown because their dynamics are still poorly understood. To help broaden our understanding of unstable glacier flow, the decadal-scale ice dynamics of 1 surging and 9 pulsing glaciers are investigated. Bering Glacier had a kinematic wave moving down its ablation zone at 4.4 +/- 2.0 km/yr from 2002 to 2009, which then accelerated to 13.9 +/- 2.0 km/yr as it traversed the piedmont lobe. The wave first appeared in 2001 near the confluence with Bagley Ice Valley and it took 10 years to travel ~64 km. A surge was triggered in 2008 after the wave activated an ice reservoir in the midablation zone, and it climaxed in 2011 while the terminus advanced several km into Vitus Lake. Ruth Glacier pulsed five times between 1973 and 2012, with peak velocities in 1981, 1989, 1997, 2003, and 2010; approximately every 7 years. A typical pulse increased ice velocity 300%, from roughly 40 m/yr to 160 m/yr in the midablation zone, and involved acceleration and deceleration of the ice en masse; no kinematic wave was evident. The pulses are theorized to be due to deformation of a subglacial till causing enhanced basal motion. Eight additional pulsing glaciers are identified based on the spatiotemporal pattern of their velocity fields. These glaciers pulsed where they were either constricted laterally or joined by a tributary, and their surface slopes are 1-2°. These traits are consistent with an overdeepening. This observation leads to a theory of ice motion in overdeepenings that explains the cyclical behavior of pulsing glaciers. It is based on the concept of glaciohydraulic supercooling, and includes sediment transport and erosion

  4. Holocene temperature shifts around Greenland: Paleolimnological approaches to quantifying past warmth and documenting its consequences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Axford, Y.; Lasher, G. E.; McFarlin, J. M.; Francis, D. R.; Kelly, M. A.; Langdon, P. G.; Levy, L.; Osburn, M. R.; Osterberg, E. C.

    2015-12-01

    temperature, hydroclimate, and the response of Greenland's glaciers to past climate change.

  5. Long-term future contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calov, Reinhard; Robinson, Alex; Ganopolski, Andrey

    2015-04-01

    We investigate the impact of future cumulative anthropogenic emissions on the fate of the Greenland ice sheet. For this study, we use the polythermal ice sheet model SICOPOLIS, which is bi-directionally coupled with the regional climate model of intermediate complexity REMBO. We constrain our model parameters with simulations over two glacial cycles employing anomalies from the global CLIMBER-2 model. CLIMBER-2 treats the major components or the Earth system, including atmosphere, ocean, terrestrial vegetation and carbon cycle. As constraints we include the cumulative error in ice thickness, the surface mass balance partition (ratio between precipitation and ice discharge) and the ice elevation drop between Eemian and present-day at the NEEM ice core location. Our model includes a new ice discharge parameterization, which describes the ice loss via small-scale outlet glaciers in a heuristic statistical approach. Using the large-ensemble of model versions consistent with our constraints, we estimate the range of the long-term future contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea-level rise under global warming. On the 100,000-year time scale, there is a visible modulation over the CO2 signal in the simulated Greenland ice volume caused by the 20,000 years precessional cycle of insolation. In nearly all of our scenarios (500 to 5000 Gt carbon cumulative emissions), the Greenland is sheet fully decays in the future after at least 40,000 years. For the extreme scenario (5000 Gt), the Greenland ice sheet decays much faster - after about 5000 years, while there is still 80% of the ice sheet left after 40,000 years only for the model versions with a low temperature sensitivity and the low cumulative carbon emission scenario (500 Gt). Our results underline that without future negative CO2 emissions, irreversible loss of Greenland ice sheet is essentially unavoidable.

  6. Surface melt dominates Alaska glacier mass balance

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larsen Chris F; Burgess, E; Arendt, A.A.; O'Neel, Shad; Johnson, A.J.; Kienholz, C.

    2015-01-01

    Mountain glaciers comprise a small and widely distributed fraction of the world's terrestrial ice, yet their rapid losses presently drive a large percentage of the cryosphere's contribution to sea level rise. Regional mass balance assessments are challenging over large glacier populations due to remote and rugged geography, variable response of individual glaciers to climate change, and episodic calving losses from tidewater glaciers. In Alaska, we use airborne altimetry from 116 glaciers to estimate a regional mass balance of −75 ± 11 Gt yr−1 (1994–2013). Our glacier sample is spatially well distributed, yet pervasive variability in mass balances obscures geospatial and climatic relationships. However, for the first time, these data allow the partitioning of regional mass balance by glacier type. We find that tidewater glaciers are losing mass at substantially slower rates than other glaciers in Alaska and collectively contribute to only 6% of the regional mass loss.

  7. Determining surface elevation change of small ice caps on Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hess, D. P.; Schenk, A.; Csatho, B. M.; Nagarajan, S.; Briner, J. P.

    2010-12-01

    Among the hundreds of small ice caps that dot the periphery of the Greenland ice sheet, several (such as Sukkertoppen, North Ice Cap, and Flade Isbrink) have been flown multiple times by the NASA Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM). Although highly resolved, these flights cover only a small portion of each ice cap surface. In this work we introduce ICESat as a complementary sensor to estimate surface elevation change over a larger area. Surface Elevation Reconstruction and Change detection (SERAC) is a method that has been successfully applied to several cases where fusion of multisensory data is required to reconstruct surface topography. The method is based on fitting analytical functions to laser points within repeat tracks or cross-over areas and provides high resolution, precise changes in surface topography along with a rigorous error estimate of the reconstructed elevation changes. In this study we apply SERAC to precisely reconstruct surface change for multiple ice caps using ATM and ICESat data through multiple time epochs. Small ice caps that surround the Greenland ice sheet reside at relatively low elevation and respond quickly to climate forcing. Moreover, dynamic thinning processes are comparatively limited in the ice caps when compared to the ice sheet proper. Small ice caps and alpine glaciers and expected to provide the largest contribution to eustatic sea-level rise over the coming century. There is therefore an urgent need to develop and maintain an inventory of small ice cap mass balance, especially those that surround the large ice sheets.

  8. Moulin distribution and formation on the southwest Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chu, V. W.; Smith, L. C.; Gleason, C. J.; Yang, K.; Poinar, K.; Joughin, I.; Pitcher, L. H.

    2015-12-01

    River moulins represent a significant connection between surface meltwater generated on the Greenland ice sheet and subglacial drainage networks, where increased meltwater can enhance ice sliding dynamics. In this study, a new high-resolution moulin map is created from WorldView-1/2 imagery acquired during the 2012 record melt year for a 12,500 km2 area near Russell Glacier in southwest Greenland. A total of 1,236 moulins are mapped and categorized as being located: in crevasse fields, along a single ice fracture, within drained lake basins, or having no visible formation mechanism. We find the presence of moulins up to 1787 m elevation, with 11% of moulins found above 1600 m elevation: higher than previously mapped moulins and where glaciological theory suggests few moulins should form. Our study observes moulins in both extensional and compressional ice flow regimes (28% of moulins are found in areas of high extensional strain rate >0.005 yr-1), suggesting that strain rates are not a strong indicator of the likelihood for moulin formation. Overall, moulin density tends to increase with higher bed elevation, thinner ice, lower surface slope, higher velocity, and higher strain rate. In sum, moulins are most common in crevassed, thinner ice near the ice sheet edge, but significant quantities also develop at high elevations. This indicates that future inland expansion of melting may create hydrologic connections between the surface and the bed at higher elevations than previously thought.

  9. Ocean forcing drives glacier retreat sometimes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bassis, J. N.; Ultee, E.; Ma, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Observations show that marine-terminating glaciers respond to climate forcing nonlinearly, with periods of slow or negligible glacier advance punctuated by abrupt, rapid retreat. Once glacier retreat has initiated, glaciers can quickly stabilize with a new terminus position. Alternatively, retreat can be sustained for decades (or longer), as is the case for Columbia Glacier, Alaska where retreat initiated ~1984 and continues to this day. Surprisingly, patterns of glacier retreat show ambiguous or even contradictory correlations with atmospheric temperature and glacier surface mass balance. Despite these puzzles, observations increasingly show that intrusion of warm subsurface ocean water into fjords can lead to glacier erosion rates that can account for a substantial portion of the total mass lost from glaciers. Here we use a simplified flowline model to show that even relatively modest submarine melt rates (~100 m/a) near the terminus of grounded glaciers can trigger large increases in iceberg calving leading to rapid glacier retreat. However, the strength of the coupling between submarine melt and calving is a strong function of the geometry of the glacier (bed topography, ice thickness and glacier width). This can lead to irreversible retreat when the terminus is thick and grounded deeply beneath sea level or result in little change when the glacier is relatively thin, grounded in shallow water or pinned in a narrow fjord. Because of the strong dependence on glacier geometry, small perturbations in submarine melting can trigger glaciers in their most advanced—and geometrically precarious—state to undergo sudden retreat followed by much slower re-advance. Although many details remain speculative, our model hints that some glaciers are more sensitive than others to ocean forcing and that some of the nonlinearities of glacier response to climate change may be attributable to variations in difficult-to-detect subsurface water temperatures that need to be better

  10. Dynamic Controls on Recent Increases in Northwest Greenland Coastal Precipitation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wong, G. J.; Osterberg, E. C.; Hawley, R. L.; Courville, Z.; Ferris, D. G.; Howley, J. A.

    2015-12-01

    Arctic precipitation has been rising over recent decades, with implications for glacier mass balance, sea level rise, and thermohaline circulation via the freshening of the Arctic seas. Coastal instrumental data and proxy records in northwest (NW) Greenland indicate positive summer precipitation trends from 1952-2012 along with a long-term, significant (p < 0.05) summer warming trend. While the observed precipitation increase is likely due in part to Clausius-Clapeyron increases in vapor pressure, the dynamical mechanisms responsible for the increasing trend remain poorly understood. Here we use a 61-year record of precipitation from Thule Air Base in NW Greenland and NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data to identify atmospheric circulation patterns associated with enhanced precipitation in recent decades. We evaluate Thule precipitation-circulation relationships for the warm season (July-October [JASO]; 49% of annual precipitation) and cold season (December-February [DJF]; 20% of annual precipitation). Anomalously high precipitation in DJF and JASO is associated with enhanced southerly flow of warm, moist air and enhanced uplift (omega) in Northern Baffin Bay. Meridional flow in Baffin Bay is strongly correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). We observe enhanced southerly flow, uplift and Thule precipitation during negative NAO conditions in winter and to a weaker extent JASO. Based on this mechanism, the trend (p < 0.10) of declining annual NAO index values since 1981 is consistent with the rising trends in Thule annual precipitation over this interval. We find evidence that a NW Greenland ice core proxy record (2Barrel) has a diminished JASO seasonal bias compared with the coast, and thus a future, longer proxy record collected from the 2Barrel site would be well suited for capturing both summer and winter climate variability.

  11. Seasonal variability of the warm Atlantic water layer in the vicinity of the Greenland shelf break

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grist, Jeremy P.; Josey, Simon A.; Boehme, Lars; Meredith, Michael P.; Laidre, Kristin L.; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Kovacs, Kit M.; Lydersen, Christian; Davidson, Fraser J. M.; Stenson, Garry B.; Hammill, Mike O.; Marsh, Robert; Coward, Andrew C.

    2014-12-01

    The warmest water reaching the east and west coast of Greenland is found between 200 and 600 m. While important for melting Greenland's outlet glaciers, limited winter observations of this layer prohibit determination of its seasonality. To address this, temperature data from Argo profiling floats, a range of sources within the World Ocean Database, and unprecedented coverage from marine-mammal borne sensors have been analyzed for the period 2002-2011. A significant seasonal range in temperature (~1-2°C) is found in the warm layer, in contrast to most of the surrounding ocean. The phase of the seasonal cycle exhibits considerable spatial variability, with the warmest water found near the eastern and southwestern shelf break toward the end of the calendar year. High-resolution ocean model trajectory analysis suggests the timing of the arrival of the year's warmest water is a function of advection time from the subduction site in the Irminger Basin.

  12. Flow Dynamics and Stability of the NE Greenland Ice Stream from Active Seismics and Radar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Riverman, K. L.; Alley, R. B.; Anandakrishnan, S.; Christianson, K. A.; Peters, L. E.; Muto, A.

    2015-12-01

    We find that dilatant till facilitates rapid ice flow in central Greenland, and regions of dryer till limit the expansion of ice flow. The Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) is the largest ice stream in Greenland, draining 8.4% of the ice sheet's area. Fast ice flow initiates near the ice sheet summit in a region of high geothermal heat flow and extends some 700km downstream to three outlet glaciers along the NE Coast. The flow pattern and stability mechanism of this ice stream are unique to others in Greenland and Antarctica, and merit further study to ascertain the sensitivity of this ice stream to future climate change. In this study, we present the results of the first-ever ground-based geophysical survey of the initiation zone of NEGIS. Based on radar and preliminary seismic data, Christianson et al. (2014, EPSL) propose a flow mechanism for the ice stream based on topographically driven hydropotential lows which generate 'sticky' regions of the bed under the ice stream margins. We further test this hypothesis using a 40km reflection seismic survey across both ice stream margins. We find that regions of 'sticky' bed as observed by the radar survey are coincident with regions of the bed with seismic returns indicating drier subglacial sediments. These findings are further supported by five amplitude-verses-offset seismic surveys indicating dilatant till within the ice stream and consolidated sediments within its margins.

  13. A new bathymetry of the Northeast Greenland continental shelf: Constraints on glacial and other processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arndt, Jan Erik; Jokat, Wilfried; Dorschel, Boris; Myklebust, Reidun; Dowdeswell, Julian A.; Evans, Jeffrey

    2015-10-01

    A new digital bathymetric model (DBM) for the Northeast Greenland (NEG) continental shelf (74°N-81°N) is presented. The DBM has a grid cell size of 250 m × 250 m and incorporates bathymetric data from 30 multibeam cruises, more than 20 single-beam cruises and first reflector depths from industrial seismic lines. The new DBM substantially improves the bathymetry compared to older models. The DBM not only allows a better delineation of previously known seafloor morphology but, in addition, reveals the presence of previously unmapped morphological features including glacially derived troughs, fjords, grounding-zone wedges, and lateral moraines. These submarine landforms are used to infer the past extent and ice-flow dynamics of the Greenland Ice Sheet during the last full-glacial period of the Quaternary and subsequent ice retreat across the continental shelf. The DBM reveals cross-shelf bathymetric troughs that may enable the inflow of warm Atlantic water masses across the shelf, driving enhanced basal melting of the marine-terminating outlet glaciers draining the ice sheet to the coast in Northeast Greenland. Knolls, sinks, and hummocky seafloor on the middle shelf are also suggested to be related to salt diapirism. North-south-orientated elongate depressions are identified that probably relate to ice-marginal processes in combination with erosion caused by the East Greenland Current. A single guyot-like peak has been discovered and is interpreted to have been produced during a volcanic event approximately 55 Ma ago.

  14. Observed Spatial and Temporal Variability of Subglacial Discharge-Driven Plumes in Greenland's Outlet Glacial Fjords

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sutherland, D.; Carroll, D.; Nash, J. D.; Shroyer, E.; Mickett, J.; Stearns, L. A.; Fried, M.; Bartholomaus, T.; Catania, G. A.

    2015-12-01

    Hydrographic and velocity observations in Greenland's outlet glacier fjords have revealed, unsurprisingly, a rich set of dynamics over a range of spatial and temporal scales. Through teasing apart the distinct processes that control circulation within these fjords, we are likely to better understand the impact of fjord circulation on modulating outlet glacier dynamics, and thus, changes in Greenland Ice Sheet mass balance. Here, we report on data from the summers of 2013-2015 in two neighboring fjords in the Uummannaq Bay region of west Greenland: Kangerlussuup Sermia (KS) and Rink Isbræ (RI). We find strong subglacial discharge driven plumes in both systems that evolve on synoptic and seasonal time scales, without the complicating presence of other circulation processes. The plumes both modify fjord water properties and respond to differences in ambient water properties, supporting the notion that a feedback exists between subglacial discharge plume circulation and water mass properties. This feedback between subglacial discharge and water properties potentially influences submarine melt rates at the glacier termini. Observed plume properties, including the vertical structure of velocity, and temperature and salinity anomalies, are compared favorably to model estimates. In KS, we find a near-surface intensified plume with high sediment content that slows and widens as it evolves downstream. In contrast, the plume in RI is entirely subsurface, ranging from 100-300 m depth at its core during summer, although it shows similar temperature, salinity, and optical backscatter signals to the KS plume. Importantly, the distinct vertical plume structures imprint on the overall water mass properties found in each fjord, raising the minimum temperatures by up to 1-2°C in the case of RI.

  15. Multi-beam survey of ice-ocean interactions in West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rignot, E. J.; Fenty, I. G.; Xu, Y.

    2012-12-01

    It is well known that ice-ocean interactions play a fundamental role in the evolution of floating ice shelves. It is less well known that they also play a fundamental role in the evolution of tidewater glaciers, and moreover that ice-ocean interactions in the case of tidewater glaciers are orders of magnitude more vigorous that in the case of floating ice shelves. In this talk, we will present results of a novel oceanographic survey of several glacial fjords situated about 150-200 km north of Ilulissat, in West Greenland, which combines precision, multi-beam bathymetry, long-range ADCP and dense CTD data to characterize the geometry of calving fronts, the distribution of melting and subglacial water discharge and to measure the rates of ice melting in the ocean in the summer. The results will be compared with model output products from the MITgcm to evaluate the quality of the model simulations and improve its boundary conditions, e.g. the precise location of outbursts of subglacial water at the glacier grounding line, the structural nature of the ice-ocean interface, the distribution of melt water outflow versus depth and its re-circulation within the glacial fjords. The survey will provide direct measurements of ice ablation rates from time-dependent multi-beam mapping, in complement with estimates derived from the conservation of heat and salt. The results will be instrumental in developing an enhanced characterization of ice-ocean interactions in Greenland, which is a major unknown for predicting the evolution of Greenland in a warming climate. This work is performed under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  16. Investing the role of buoyancy in iceberg calving dynamics from tidewater glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trevers, Matt; Payne, Tony; Cornford, Stephen

    2016-04-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) currently makes a major and accelerating contribution to sea level rise (SLR), with its contribution split roughly evenly between surface mass balance changes due to increased melting and dynamic ice loss through calving. In recent decades, many of Greenland's major outlet glaciers have retreated dramatically due to increased iceberg calving, associated with an increase in velocity and inland thinning. The potential contribution to SLR of a complete collapse of the GIS is ~7m. Iceberg calving is an important process not only as a major source of mass loss from the GIS, but also for the controlling influence it has on the dynamics of the grounding line and over the ice sheet as a whole. Despite plenty of scientific attention and a diverse body of literature, the processes involved in calving, their controlling factors and how it feeds back into glacier and ice sheet dynamics are still not fully understood. This presents a major uncertainty into projections of SLR over the coming decades and centuries. Using Elmer/Ice, a state-of-the-art full-Stokes finite-element model, we are able to resolve the stress distributions in high resolution at the calving front. Buoyancy forces have been proposed as a major influencing factor in inducing calving. By investigating the stress distributions induced in a buoyant calving front, we hope to gain an understanding of how environmental influences such as surface thinning and waterline notch-cutting influence the calving rate, and compare this to observations from calving glaciers in Greenland.

  17. Glacier Sensitivity Across the Andes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sagredo, E. A.; Lowell, T. V.; Rupper, S.

    2010-12-01

    Most of the research on causes driving former glacial fluctuations, and the climatic signals involved, has focused on the comparisons of sequences of glacial events in separate regions of the world and their temporal-phasing relationship with terrestrial or extraterrestrial climate-forcing mechanisms. Nevertheless the climatic signals related with these glacial advances are still under debate. This impossibility to resolve these questions satisfactorily have been generally attributed to the insufficiently precise chronologies and unevenly distributed records. However, behind these ideas lies the implicit assumption that glaciers situated in different climate regimes respond uniformly to similar climatic perturbations. This ongoing research is aimed to explore the climate-glacier relationship at regional scale, through the analysis of the spatial variability of glacier sensitivity to climatic change. By applying a Surface Energy Mass Balance model (SEMB) developed by Rupper and Roe (2008) to glaciers located in different climatic regimes, we analyzed the spatial variability of mass balance changes under different baseline conditions and under different scenarios of climatic change. For the sake of this research, the analysis is being focused on the Andes, which in its 9,000 km along the western margin of South America offers an unparalleled climatic diversity. Preliminary results suggest that above some threshold of climate change (a hypothetical uniform perturbation), all the glaciers across the Andes would respond in the “same direction” (advancing or retreating). Below that threshold, glaciers located in some climatic regimes may be insensitive to the specific perturbation. On the other hand, glaciers located in different climatic regimes may exhibit a “different magnitude” of change under a uniform climatic perturbation. Thus, glaciers located in the dry Andes of Perú, Chile and Argentina are more sensitive to precipitation changes than variations in

  18. Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier of Europe, covers more than 120 square kilometers (more than 45 square miles)in southern Switzerland. At its eastern extremity lies a glacierlake, Mdrjelensee (2,350 meters/7,711 feet above sea level). To the west rises Aletschhorn (4,195 meters/13,763 feet), which was first climbed in 1859. The Rhone River flows along the southern flank of the mountains.

    This image was acquired on July 23, 2001 by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite. With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region, and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER will image Earth for the next 6 years to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products.

    The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER will provide scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping, and monitoring dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.

    Dr. Anne Kahle at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is the U.S. Science team leader; Bjorn Eng of JPL is the project manager. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, a long-term research and technology program designed to examine Earth's land, oceans, atmosphere, ice and life as

  19. Monitoring Popocatepetl volcano's glaciers (Mexico): case study of glacier extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Delgado, H.; Julio, P.; Huggel, C.; Brugman, M.

    2003-04-01

    Popocatépetl volcano is located 60 km southeast of Mexico City and is one of the three ice-clad volcanoes in Mexico. The two glaciers of Popocatépetl became extinct after a strong retreat due to the combination of at least three causes: global change, change in regional meteorological conditions (induced by the vicinity to highly polluted areas) and local enforcement (namely volcanic eruption). Glacier dimensions of Popocatépetl glaciers have been measured by photogrammetric means, and even though continuous monitoring was not feasible for decades, in recent years availability of aerial photographs allowed a better documentation of glacier areal changes. The first inventory made in 1958 threw an areal extent of 0.89 km2. A second inventory of the areal extent of the two small glaciers of Popocatépetl in 1982 reported 0.56 km2. Average retreat rate resulted nearly 14,000 m2/year. An areal measurement for 1996 resulted in an-order-of-magnitude smaller retreat rate (more than 1,500 m2/year). In early 1997, the retreat rate was nearly 12,500 m2/year, an order of magnitude similar as that of the 1958-1982 period. This scheme changed strongly in the following years when retreat rate was twice in 1998 and more than 7 times greater in 1999. By the end of the year 2000, the retreat rate remained in the same order of magnitude as in early 1999. Since the year 2000 and up to the present, the glaciers are just a series of independent ice masses (seracs) and the bedrock is seen in between them. GPR determinations made in 1995 showed a 40 m average ice thickness. During ice drilling in the year 2000 at nearly the same spot where GPR determinations were made in 1995, a thickness of 4 m was found. Therefore, glacier shrinkage has been documented not only by areal restriction but also by strong changes in thickness. The strong retreat experienced by Popocatépetl’s glaciers along the last decades, were possibly due to global climatic enforcement and proximity to industrial

  20. Using Coastal Ice Cap Records to Investigate Maritime Climate and Ice Sheet Processes in West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Das, S. B.; Evans, M. J.; Frey, K. E.; Osman, M. B.; Smith, B. E.; Stevens, L. A.; Trusel, L. D.; York, A.; Bingham, M.

    2014-12-01

    Recent changes, including outlet glacier retreat and speedup, and increased rates of surface melting, have dramatically increased the Greenland ice sheet contribution to sea-level rise over the past few decades. Increasingly studies point towards the influence of coupled ocean-ice processes in modulating Greenland ice sheet mass balance and glacier behavior in response to climate change, but many of these studies are limited to the past few years to decades, restricting our ability to understand these ocean-ice relationships over longer time periods. Ice core records have the potential to provide unique, high-resolution records of interest (e.g. accumulation and melt variability, as well as contemporaneous proxy records of regional air temperature and sea surface conditions), but suitable Greenland ice sheet coring regions are often located far inland (>200 km) from many maritime regions of interest. In this study we focus on new records from previously unstudied maritime ice caps (10-30 km from the coast) to reconstruct past environmental conditions in the Disko, Ummannaq and Baffin Bay regions. Here we present results from our recent 2014 field investigation of three high altitude ice caps (1300-2000 m) on Disko Island and the Nuussuaq Peninsula, as well as complementary results from two sites in the western ice sheet accumulation zone. Geophysical observations provide constraints on ice thickness, layering, and ice flow. Physical and chemical stratigraphic observations from snow pits and shallow firn cores are used to reconstruct recent accumulation rate and melt variability, as well as to develop and test environmental proxy relationships over the satellite era. Multi-century records from longer coastal ice cores, to be drilled in 2015, will contribute a key missing component to the existing observational record documenting ice, ocean and atmospheric changes in this region over a time period of dramatic change in Greenland ice sheet behavior (retreat and

  1. Detailed basal topography of the floating portion of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutrieux, Pierre; Jenkins, Adrian; Stewart, Craig; Corr, Hugh

    2013-04-01

    In January 2009 the underside of Pine Island glacier's floating ice shelf, in West Antarctica, was imaged along three 30 km tracks using an upward-looking multi-beam echo-sounder mounted on an autonomous underwater vehicle. At 4-m resolution with a 300-m wide swath, these observations reveal with unprecedented detail the presence of channels oriented along and across the direction of ice flow. Many of these channels are characterized by basal crevasses above their apex and successive 200-500 m wide, 10-20m high terraces on their flanks. A near coincident, high resolution airborne radar survey confirm the widespread nature of these features. The oceanographic and glaciological conditions of Pine Island glacier are discussed to shed light on the processes leading to their formation and maintenance. For comparison, observations of terraces in a different setting, but in a similar oceanographic context in Greenland are also presented.

  2. Chronology for fluctuations in late pleistocene Sierra Nevada glaciers and lakes

    SciTech Connect

    Phillips, F.M.; Zreda, M.G.; Plummer, M.A.

    1996-11-01

    Mountain glaciers, because of their small size, are usually close to equilibrium with the local climate and thus should provide a test of whether temperature oscillations in Greenland late in the last glacial period are part of global-scale climate variability or are restricted to the North Atlantic region. Correlation of cosmogenic chlorine-36 dates on Sierra Nevada moraines with a continuous radiocarbon-dated sediment record from nearby Owens Lake shows that Sierra Nevada glacial advances were associated with Heinrich events 5, 3, and 1. 27 refs., 2 figs., 1 tab.

  3. Chronology for fluctuations in late Pleistocene Sierra Nevada glaciers and lakes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Phillips, F.M.; Zreda, M.G.; Benson, L.V.; Plummer, M.A.; Elmore, D.; Sharma, Prakash

    1996-01-01

    Mountain glaciers, because of their small size, are usually close to equilibrium with the local climate and thus should provide a test of whether temperature oscillations in Greenland late in the last glacial period are part of global-scale climate variability or are restricted to the North Atlantic region. Correlation of cosmogenic chlorine-36 dates on Sierra Nevada moraines with a continuous radiocarbon-dated sediment record from nearby Owens Lake shows that Sierra Nevada glacial advances were associated with Heinrich events 5, 3, 2, and 1.

  4. Microbial abundance in surface ice on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    PubMed Central

    Stibal, Marek; Gözdereliler, Erkin; Cameron, Karen A.; Box, Jason E.; Stevens, Ian T.; Gokul, Jarishma K.; Schostag, Morten; Zarsky, Jakub D.; Edwards, Arwyn; Irvine-Fynn, Tristram D. L.; Jacobsen, Carsten S.

    2015-01-01

    Measuring microbial abundance in glacier ice and identifying its controls is essential for a better understanding and quantification of biogeochemical processes in glacial ecosystems. However, cell enumeration of glacier ice samples is challenging due to typically low cell numbers and the presence of interfering mineral particles. We quantified for the first time the abundance of microbial cells in surface ice from geographically distinct sites on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS), using three enumeration methods: epifluorescence microscopy (EFM), flow cytometry (FCM), and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). In addition, we reviewed published data on microbial abundance in glacier ice and tested the three methods on artificial ice samples of realistic cell (102–107 cells ml−1) and mineral particle (0.1–100 mg ml−1) concentrations, simulating a range of glacial ice types, from clean subsurface ice to surface ice to sediment-laden basal ice. We then used multivariate statistical analysis to identify factors responsible for the variation in microbial abundance on the ice sheet. EFM gave the most accurate and reproducible results of the tested methodologies, and was therefore selected as the most suitable technique for cell enumeration of ice containing dust. Cell numbers in surface ice samples, determined by EFM, ranged from ~ 2 × 103 to ~ 2 × 106 cells ml−1 while dust concentrations ranged from 0.01 to 2 mg ml−1. The lowest abundances were found in ice sampled from the accumulation area of the ice sheet and in samples affected by fresh snow; these samples may be considered as a reference point of the cell abundance of precipitants that are deposited on the ice sheet surface. Dust content was the most significant variable to explain the variation in the abundance data, which suggests a direct association between deposited dust particles and cells and/or by their provision of limited nutrients to microbial communities on the GrIS. PMID:25852678

  5. Organic carbon flux and particulate organic matter composition in Arctic valley glaciers: examples from the Bayelva River and adjacent Kongsfjorden

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Zhuo-Yi; Wu, Ying; Liu, Su-Mei; Wenger, Fred; Hu, Jun; Zhang, Jing; Zhang, Rui-Feng

    2016-02-01

    In the face of ongoing global warming and glacier retreat, the composition and flux of organic matter in glacier-fjord systems are key variables for updating the carbon cycle and budget, whereas the role of Arctic valley glaciers seems unimportant when compared with the huge Greenland Ice Sheet. Our field observations of the glacier-fed Bayelva River, Svalbard, and the adjacent Kongsfjorden allowed us to determine the compositions of particulate organic matter from glacier to fjord and also to estimate the flux of organic carbon, both for the river and for Svalbard in general. Particulate organic carbon (POC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the Bayelva River averaged 56 and 73 µM, respectively, in August, 2012. Amino acids (AAs) and phytoplankton carbon accounted for ˜ 10 % of the bulk POC in the Bayelva River, while AAs represented > 90 % of particulate nitrogen (PN) in fjord surface water, suggesting the strong in situ assimilation of organic matter. Bacteria accounted for 13 and 19 % of the POC in the Bayelva River and the Kongsfjorden, respectively, while values for PN were much higher (i.e., 36 % in Kongsfjorden). The total discharge from the Bayelva River in 2012 was 29 × 106 m3. Furthermore, we calculated the annual POC, DOC, and PN fluxes for the river as 20 ± 1.6 tons, 25 ± 5.6 tons, and 4.7 ± 0.75 tons, respectively. Using the POC content and DOC concentration data, we then estimated the annual POC and DOC fluxes for Svalbard glaciers. Although the estimated POC (0.056 ± 0.02 × 106 tons year-1) and DOC (0.02 ± 0.01 × 106 tons year-1) fluxes of Svalbard glaciers are small in amount, its discharge-weighted flux of DOC was over twice higher than other pan-Arctic glacier systems, suggesting its important role as a terrestrial DOC source.

  6. Water-Related Seismic Sources in Glaciers and Ice Sheets (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walter, F. T.; Heeszel, D.; Kilb, D. L.; Roux, P.; Husen, S.; Kissling, E. H.; Luethi, M. P.; Funk, M.; Clinton, J. F.; Fricker, H.

    2013-12-01

    Liquid water can have a profound impact on the flow of glaciers and ice sheets. Acceleration of ice flow via enhanced basal motion, hydro-fracturing and cryo-hydrologic warming are just three possible mechanisms that can drastically alter ice dynamics. At the same time, subsurface water flow is difficult to measure as the englacial and subglacial drainage systems are highly inaccessible. Although tracer experiments, speleological methods, radar measurements and deep drilling provide some information about water flow and changes thereof, more data on hydraulic processes are needed for the development and testing of numerical ice flow models. Recent studies have suggested that passive seismic techniques can be used to monitor englacial and subglacial water flow. This inter-disciplinary approach is motivated by the analogy between fluid-induced seismic sources in glaciers and volcanoes, which was first proposed in the late 70's. As seismological analysis is a valuable tool to monitor hydro-thermal activity in volcanic regions, it may consequently also reveal transient or sudden changes in a glacier's water drainage system. Here, we present results from continuous and event-based seismic monitoring exercises on Swiss mountain glaciers and the ablation zone of the Greenland ice sheet. We examine 'icequakes', sustained tremors and seismic background noise, whose sources are closely connected to the presence or movement of water. Analyzing icequake moment tensors and signal characteristics, spectrograms, noise source locations and simple models of resonating cracks, we can monitor the development and evolution of water passages below the glacier surface. Accordingly, our seismic measurements elucidate an area of the glacier, which has been difficult to investigate with traditional glaciological techniques.

  7. Towards a robust method for estimation of volume changes of Mountain glaciers from ICESat data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kropacek, J.; Neckel, N.

    2012-04-01

    Worldwide estimation of recent glacier volume changes is still a challenge that can only be faced by an instrument mounted on a revisiting satellite platform. NASA's ICESat (Ice Cloud and Elevation Satellite) mission was primarily dedicated for mass balance studies of the continental ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. ICESat's Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) provides accurate elevation estimates derived from the two way travel time of the emitted laser pulse. ICESat offers unlike radar altimeters conveniently small footprints (~72 m) with a spacing of 170 m along the nadir track. The date were acquired during 19 campaigns where each campaign provides under favorable conditions one flyover. The intersections of the track with glacier areas are random but it provides adequate data coverage for major mountain ranges. Estimation of height changes of mountain glaciers crossed by repeated ICESat tracks is hindered by rough topography, distances between repeated tracks (up to 3000 m), effects of saturation and often low accuracy of the available digital elevation models. Accuracy and limitations of two methods were compared: statistical approach where the differences of ICESat heights to a reference DEM are averaged and analytical approach in which only almost spatially identical tracks are analyzed. In both approaches accumulation and ablation areas were treated separately. As a test bed Aletsch Glacier in Swiss Alps with plenty of auxiliary datasets such as DEMs, topographic maps, climate data etc. was used. The ICESat data is well spaced over the glacier area and includes both accumulation and ablation areas plus glacier terminus. Preliminary results show a good agreement between both the approaches.

  8. Integrating Borehole Measurements with Modeling of Englacial and Basal Conditions, Western Greenland (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harper, J. T.; Humphrey, N. F.; Johnson, J. V.; Meierbachtol, T. W.; Brinkerhoff, D. J.; Landowski, C. M.

    2010-12-01

    We present results from a project combining flow-line ice sheet modeling and a borehole drilling campaign focused on Isunnguata Sermia, a terrestrial terminating outlet glacier in western Greenland. Our work focuses on this glacier in order to isolate non-marine influenced ice dynamic processes, particularly those related to hydrologic conditions and basal sliding. During summer of 2010 we hot-water drilled 13 boreholes to the bed or near the bed of this outlet glacier. We installed sensors in the boreholes for extended-term measurement of ice temperature, internal ice deformation, and subglacial water pressure. We also performed other borehole experiments including hydrologic slug tests, injection tests, video logging of englacial ice and basal conditions, and time lapse photography of basal sliding. The subglacial hydrological system of the ice sheet demonstrates numerous similarities to observations from mountain glaciers. For example, during the summer season the subglacial drainage system can have complex and changing englacial and subglacial connections, can undergo diurnal water pressure swings from 30% to 105% of overburden pressure, and the residence time of basal waters is relatively short. The ice temperature in the upper 100-200 m is warmer than expected or predicted by ice sheet modeling, however, perhaps due to the addition of latent heat.

  9. On Deriving Requirements for the Surface Mass Balance forcing of a Greenland Ice Sheet Model using Uncertainty Analyses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schlegel, N.; Larour, E. Y.; Box, J. E.

    2015-12-01

    During July of 2012, the percentage of the Greenland surface exposed to melt was the largest in recorded history. And, even though evidence of increased melt rates had been captured by remote sensing observations throughout the last decade, this particular event took the community by surprise. How Greenland ice flow will respond to such an event or to increased frequencies of extreme melt events in the future is unclear, as it requires detailed comprehension of Greenland surface climate and the ice sheet's sensitivity to associated uncertainties. With established uncertainty quantification (UQ) tools embedded within the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), we conduct decadal-scale forward modeling experiments to 1) quantify the spatial resolution needed to effectively force surface mass balance (SMB) in various regions of the ice sheet and 2) determine the dynamic response of Greenland outlet glaciers to variations in SMB. First, we perform sensitivity analyses to determine how perturbations in SMB affect model output; results allow us to investigate the locations where variations most significantly affect ice flow, and on what spatial scales. Next, we apply Monte-Carlo style sampling analyses to determine how errors in SMB propagate through the model as uncertainties in estimates of Greenland ice discharge and regional mass balance. This work is performed at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Cryosphere Program.

  10. Novel Measurements and Techniques for Outlet Glacier Fjord Ice/Ocean Interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Behar, A.; Howat, I. M.; Holland, D. M.; Ahlstrom, A. P.; Larsen, S. H.

    2014-12-01

    Glacier fjord bathymetry and conditions indicate that they play fundamental roles for outlet glacier dynamics and thus knowledge of these parameters is extremely beneficial to upcoming models that predict changes. In particular, the bathymetry of a fjord gives important information about the exchange between fjord waters close to marine-terminating glaciers and the shelf and ocean. Currently, only sparse bathymetric data near the ice fronts are available for the majority of fjords in Greenland. The challenge in obtaining these measurements is that the fjord melange environment is a terrible one for mechanical gear, or ship or any other kind of access. There is hope however, and this work focuses on novel ways of obtaining this data using a multitude of upcoming technologies and techniques that are now being tested and planned. The span of the techniques described include but are not limited to: 1) manned helicopter-based live-reading instruments and deployable/retriavable sensor packages http://www.motionterra.com/fjord/ 2) remote or autonomous unmanned miniature boats (Depth/CTD), and 3) UAV's that either read live data or deploy small sensors that can telemeter their data (ice-flow trackers, image acquisition, etc.). A review of current results obtained at Jakobshavn and Upernavik Glaciers will be given as well as a description of the techniques and hardware used.

  11. Impact of External Forcing on Glacier Dynamics at Jakobshavn Isbræ during 1840-2012

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muresan, I. S.; Khan, S. A.; Aschwanden, A.; Khroulev, C.; Bjork, A. A.; Box, J. E.

    2014-12-01

    Greenland's main outlet glaciers have more than doubled their contribution to global sea-level rise over the past decade through acceleration of ice discharge. One of the triggering mechanisms is a reduction in resistance (buttressing) at the marine based glacier front (i.e. through reduced thickness or retreat of the floating tongue of a glacier) caused by enhanced calving or a longer-term thinning due to a mass deficit of the ice sheet. Recent findings indicate the reduced buttressing at the marine terminus is responsible for the recent dynamic changes observed in Greenland, but the controlling processes and triggering mechanisms are still unclear. Furthermore, our current understanding is almost entirely based on observations from a short-term record spanning only from a year to a decade, and is characterized by short-term fluctuations and therefore not representative for longer-term trends of several decade time scales. Here, we study the mechanisms controlling dynamic changes at the terminus of Jakobshavn Isbræ over a period of 172 years. The recent glacier acceleration began in late 1990s but there is evidence for glacier retreat of comparable magnitude in 1930s, when a similarly warm period occurred. To control the acceleration and retreat based on observed front positions during 1840-2012, we use an ocean model modifier that implements forcing at the ocean boundary using melange back pressure offsets. The mean temperature anomaly in west Greenland, the North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) winter index and the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) index anomalies for the period 1900-2012 sustain our modelling results. The modelled surface elevation changes near the front are considered and compared with observed surface elevation changes for the period 1880-2012. Furthermore, the modelled mass loss signal between 1997-2012 is validated based on ice mass change observations which we estimate using altimeter surveys from NASA's ATM flights during 1997

  12. Late glacial and Early Holocene climatic conditions along the margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet, registered by glacial extents in Milne Land, east Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levy, L.; Kelly, M. A.; Lowell, T. V.

    2010-12-01

    Determining the mechanisms that caused past abrupt climate changes is important for understanding today’s rapidly warming climate and, in particular, whether we may be faced with abrupt climate change in the future. Scientists, policy makers and the public are concerned about ongoing warming because it is sending our climate into unprecedented territory at a rapid pace. The Younger Dryas cold event (~12,850-11,650 cal yr B.P.) was an abrupt climate event that occurred during the last transition from glacial to interglacial conditions. Due to its abrupt nature and the magnitude of temperature change that occurred, the Younger Dryas has been the focus of extensive research, however, the mechanisms that caused this cold event are still not well understood. Wide belts (up to 5 km) of moraines, known as the Milne Land stade moraines, are present in the Scoresby Sund region of central east Greenland. Previous work in the region using a combination of equilibrium line altitudes, surface exposure dating of moraines, and relative sea level changes indicates that mountain glacier advances during Younger Dryas time represent only moderate summer temperature cooling (~3-4C colder than at present). In contrast, Greenland ice cores, which register mean annual temperatures, indicate that Younger Dryas temperatures over the ice sheet were ~15C colder than at present. This mismatch between the two nearby paleoclimate records is interpreted to result from strong seasonality (very cold winters and only moderately cold summers) during Younger Dryas time. We are examining seasonality during Younger Dryas time by developing records of summer temperatures from local glaciers in Milne Land (71.0°N, 25.6°W). These mountain glaciers are located adjacent to the Greenland Ice Sheet, less than 50 km from the location of Renland Ice core and only ~250 km from the locations of the GISP2 and GRIP cores. We present new 10Be ages of local glacial extents in Milne Land. Ages range from 11,880 yr

  13. The Greenland Telescope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grimes, Paul; Blundell, Raymond

    2012-09-01

    In the spring of 2010, the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, acquired the ALMA North America prototype antenna - a state-of-the-art 12-m diameter dish designed for submillimeter astronomy. Together with the MIT-Haystack Observatory and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the plan is to retrofit this antenna for cold-weather operation and equip it with a suite of instruments designed for a variety of scientific experiments and observations. The primary scientific goal is to image the shadow of the Super-Massive Black Hole in M87 in order to test Einstein’s theory of relativity under extreme gravity. This requires the highest angular resolution, which can only be achieved by linking this antenna with others already in place to form a telescope almost the size of the Earth. We are therefore developing plans to install this antenna at the peak of the Greenland ice-sheet. This location will produce an equivalent North-South separation of almost 9,000 km when linked to the ALMA telescope in Northern Chile, and an East-West separation of about 6,000 km when linked to SAO and ASIAA’s Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and will provide an angular resolution almost 1000 times higher than that of the most powerful optical telescopes. Given the quality of the atmosphere at the proposed telescope location, we also plan to make observations in the atmospheric windows at 1.3 and 1.5 THz. We will present plans to retrofit the telescope for cold-weather operation, and discuss potential instrumentation and projected time-line.

  14. Columbia Glacier, Alaska, 1986-2011

    NASA Video Gallery

    The Columbia Glacier in Alaska is one of many vanishing around the world. Glacier retreat is one of the most direct and understandable effects of climate change. The consequences of the decline in ...

  15. Steady-state simulations of the Greenland ice sheet using a three-dimensional full-Stokes model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seddik, Hakime; Greve, Ralf; Zwinger, Thomas; Gagliardini, Olivier

    2010-05-01

    A three-dimensional, thermo-mechanically coupled model is applied to the Greenland ice sheet. The model implements the full-Stokes equations for the ice dynamics, and the system is solved with the finite-element method (FEM) using the open source multi-physics package Elmer (http://www.csc.fi/elmer/). The finite-element mesh for the computational domain has been created using the Greenland surface and bedrock DEM data with a spatial resolution of 5 km (Bamber and others, 2001). The study is particularly aimed at better understanding the ice dynamics near the major Greenland ice streams. For this purpose, mesh refinement to obtain improved computed solutions on these areas has been introduced. The meshing procedure starts with the bedrock footprint where a mesh with triangle elements and a resolution of 1 km are employed at the vicinities of the North-East Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) and the Jakobshavn (JIS), Kangerdlugssuaq (KL) and Helheim (HH) ice streams. A size function is then applied so that the mesh resolution becomes coarser away of the ice streams up to a maximum horizontal element size of 20 km. The final three-dimensional mesh is obtained by extruding the 2D footprint with 10 vertical layers, so that the resulting mesh contains 230760 prism elements and 132740 nodes. The numerical solution of the Stokes and the heat transfer equations involves direct and iterative solvers depending on the simulation case, and both methods are coupled with stabilization procedures. The boundary conditions are such that the temperature at the surface is parameterized as a function of the latitude and the surface elevation, the geothermal heat flux at the bedrock is prescribed as spatially constant and the lateral sides are open boundaries. The simulations have been conducted in order to obtain steady-state results for the velocity and temperature fields for the entire ice sheet. The model computes the results with both bedrock sliding and melting used alternatively so

  16. Reconstruction of Greenland Ice Sheet Changes from Laser Altimetry Measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Csatho, B. M.; Schenk, A. F.; van der Veen, C. J.; Krabill, W. B.

    2009-12-01

    period. This method provides high resolution, precise changes and surface topography, and a rigorous error estimate of the reconstructed surface and elevation changes. SERAC also enables the synergistic use of multisensor data. We used SERAC for estimating volume and mass changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) in 2003-2009. Since ICESat satellite laser altimetry doesn’t provide adequate coverage for reconstructing changes over southern Greenland and for depicting the fast flowing and rapidly changing outlet glaciers we combine ICESat the ATM observations. We will present annual volume and mass change estimates of the GIS as well as reconstructions of spatial and interannual variations of the ice sheet surface. The improved spatial and temporal resolution of the combined ICESat and ATM data set also allowed us to identify and characterize outlet glaciers exhibiting complex surface change patterns, e.g. Humboldt Glacier and North East Ice Stream in North Greenland. All results include a rigorous error analysis.

  17. The potential of Sentinel-2 for investigating glaciers and related natural hazards

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winsvold, Solveig H.; Altena, Bas; Kääb, Andreas

    2016-04-01

    compared to Landsat data. This improved resolution together with the high radiometric fidelity is also important for detecting and assessing glacier lakes and their changes over time. From S2 data it becomes possible to track velocities of smaller glaciers and even over seasonal scales, as we demonstrate for the European Alps, the Caucasus, New Zealand and Greenland. This opens up for the possibility of obtaining both summer and annual velocities from the same sensor.

  18. Analysis of time series of glacier speed: Columbia Glacier, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walters, R.A.; Dunlap, W.W.

    1987-01-01

    During the summer of 1984 and 1985, laser measurements were made of the distance from a reference location to markers on the surface of the lower reach of Columbia Glacier, Alaska. The speed varies from 7 to 15 m/d and has three noteworthy components: 1) a low-frequency perturbation in speed with a time scale of days related to increased precipitation, 2) semidiurnal and diurnal variations related to sea tides, and 3) diurnal variations related to glacier surface melt. -from Authors

  19. Glacier Mass Balance measurements in Bhutan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, Miriam; Tenzin, Sangay; Tashi, Tshering

    2014-05-01

    Long-term glacier measurements are scarce in the Himalayas, partly due to lack of resources as well as inaccessibility of most of the glaciers. There are over 600 glaciers in Bhutan in the Eastern Himalayas, but no long-term measurements. However, such studies are an important component of hydrological modelling, and especially relevant to the proposed expansion of hydropower resources in this area. Glaciological studies are also critical to understanding the risk of jøkulhlaups or GLOFS (glacier lake outburst floods) from glaciers in this region. Glacier mass balance measurements have been initiated on a glacier in the Chamkhar Chu region in central Bhutan by the Department of Hydro-Met Services in co-operation with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. Chamkhar Chu is the site of two proposed hydropower plants that will each generate over 700 MW, although the present and future hydrological regimes in this basin, and especially the contribution from glaciers, are not well-understood at present. There are about 94 glaciers in the Chamkhar Chhu basin and total glacier area is about 75 sq. km. The glaciers are relatively accessible for the Himalayas, most of them can be reached after only 4-5 days walk from the nearest road. One of the largest, Thana glacier, has been chosen as a mass balance glacier and measurements were initiated in 2013. The glacier area is almost 5 sq. km. and the elevation range is 500 m (5071 m a.s.l. to 5725 m a.s.l.) making it suitable as a benchmark glacier. Preliminary measurements on a smaller, nearby glacier that was visited in 2012 and 2013 showed 1 m of firn loss (about 0.6 m w.eq.) over 12 months.

  20. The monitoring of glacial migration in Greenland by multi sensor data fusion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Park, H.; Kim, J.; yun, H.; Choi, Y.

    2013-12-01

    The retreatment of ice sheet in Greenland by global warming is now firmly confirmed by variety of observations. However, the arguments about the melting speed of ice sheet is still undergoing owing to the absence of the quantitative measurement method to continuously trace the direction and the speed of icecap change. Thus, we tested a scheme to spatially and temporally monitor the migration of ice sheet with high accuracy employing multi sensor information and their data fusion. The target areas were established in Jakoshavm and Mittivakkat glaciers where the shrinking of glaciers has been obvious for the last one century. At first, in both well-known Greenland glaciers, Differential Interferometric SAR (DInSAR) campaigns which are highly useful to monitor the glacial retreat have been undertaking employing 30 European remote sensing satellite (ERS) and 15 Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) InSAR pairs. Since base DEM quality for DInSAR analysis is poor and InSAR pixels are frequently de-correlated over ice body, two pass DInSAR doesn't produce reliable outputs. Thus the time series analyses of Permanent Scatterer and Small Baseline Subset are expected to effectively trace the translation of the glaciers and employed as the main methodology of DInSAR. Although DInSAR time series analysis effectively reconstructed temporal change of glaciers, the extracted glacial movements are projected values into line of sight direction of the sensor. Therefore it might be better to interpret them together with the other remote sensed data set for the fulfilment of useful directional measurements. In terms of such data fusion aspect, we also employ Co-registration of Optically Sensed Images and Correlation (CoSi-CORR, Leprince et al., 2007) technique, which is known as a tool for 2D change tracing, with ALOS Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM) to compensate for any line

  1. Insect-Based Holocene (and Last Interglacial?) Paleothermometry from the E and NW Greenland Ice Sheet Margins: A Fly's-Eye View of Warmth on Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Axford, Y.; Bigl, M.; Carrio, C.; Corbett, L. B.; Francis, D. R.; Hall, B. L.; Kelly, M. A.; Levy, L.; Lowell, T. V.; Osterberg, E. C.; Richter, N.; Roy, E.; Schellinger, G. C.

    2013-12-01

    Here we present new paleotemperature reconstructions based upon insect (Chironomidae) assemblages and other proxies from lake sediment cores recovered in east Greenland at ~71° N near Scoresby Sund and in northwest Greenland at ~77° N near Thule/Qaanaaq. In east Greenland, Last Chance Lake (informal name) is a small, non-glacial lake situated ~90 km east of the Greenland Ice Sheet margin. The lake preserves a sedimentary record of the entire Holocene (Levy et al. 2013). Chironomids from Last Chance Lake record cold summer temperatures (and establishment of a cold-climate fauna including abundant Oliveridia and Pseudodiamesa) during the late Holocene, preceded by summer temperatures estimated to have been 3 to 6°C warmer during the first half of the Holocene (when summer insolation forcing was greater than today). In northwest Greenland, Delta Sø and Wax Lips Lake (informal name) both preserve Holocene sediments. Here we discuss the late Holocene chironomid record from Delta Sø, whereas from Wax Lips Lake (a small, non-glacial lake situated ~2 km west of the ice sheet margin) we present a longer sedimentary and biostratigraphic record. The deeper portions of cores from Wax Lips Lake yield pre-Holocene and nonfinite radiocarbon ages, suggesting that this lake preserves sediments predating the Last Glacial Maximum. Abundant chironomids in the pre-glacial sediments appear to record interglacial conditions, and we infer that these sediments may date to the Last Interglacial (Eemian). The preservation of in situ Last Interglacial lacustrine sediments so close to the modern ice sheet margin suggests a minimally erosive glacierization style throughout the last glacial period, like that inferred for other Arctic locales such as on Baffin Island (Briner et al. 2007), ~750 km southwest of our study site. Our study sites are situated nearby key ice core sites (including NEEM, Camp Century, Agassiz and Renland) and very close to the ice sheet margin. These chironomid

  2. Insect-Based Holocene (and Last Interglacial?) Paleothermometry from the E and NW Greenland Ice Sheet Margins: A Fly's-Eye View of Warmth on Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Axford, Y.; Bigl, M.; Carrio, C.; Corbett, L. B.; Francis, D. R.; Hall, B. L.; Kelly, M. A.; Levy, L.; Lowell, T. V.; Osterberg, E. C.; Richter, N.; Roy, E.; Schellinger, G. C.

    2011-12-01

    Here we present new paleotemperature reconstructions based upon insect (Chironomidae) assemblages and other proxies from lake sediment cores recovered in east Greenland at ~71° N near Scoresby Sund and in northwest Greenland at ~77° N near Thule/Qaanaaq. In east Greenland, Last Chance Lake (informal name) is a small, non-glacial lake situated ~90 km east of the Greenland Ice Sheet margin. The lake preserves a sedimentary record of the entire Holocene (Levy et al. 2013). Chironomids from Last Chance Lake record cold summer temperatures (and establishment of a cold-climate fauna including abundant Oliveridia and Pseudodiamesa) during the late Holocene, preceded by summer temperatures estimated to have been 3 to 6°C warmer during the first half of the Holocene (when summer insolation forcing was greater than today). In northwest Greenland, Delta Sø and Wax Lips Lake (informal name) both preserve Holocene sediments. Here we discuss the late Holocene chironomid record from Delta Sø, whereas from Wax Lips Lake (a small, non-glacial lake situated ~2 km west of the ice sheet margin) we present a longer sedimentary and biostratigraphic record. The deeper portions of cores from Wax Lips Lake yield pre-Holocene and nonfinite radiocarbon ages, suggesting that this lake preserves sediments predating the Last Glacial Maximum. Abundant chironomids in the pre-glacial sediments appear to record interglacial conditions, and we infer that these sediments may date to the Last Interglacial (Eemian). The preservation of in situ Last Interglacial lacustrine sediments so close to the modern ice sheet margin suggests a minimally erosive glacierization style throughout the last glacial period, like that inferred for other Arctic locales such as on Baffin Island (Briner et al. 2007), ~750 km southwest of our study site. Our study sites are situated nearby key ice core sites (including NEEM, Camp Century, Agassiz and Renland) and very close to the ice sheet margin. These chironomid

  3. Longitudinal surface structures (flowstripes) on Antarctic glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glasser, N. F.; Gudmundsson, G. H.

    2012-03-01

    Longitudinal surface structures ("flowstripes") are common on many glaciers but their origin and significance are poorly understood. In this paper we present observations of the development of these longitudinal structures from four different Antarctic glacier systems; the Lambert Glacier/Amery Ice Shelf area, the Taylor and Ferrar Glaciers in the Ross Sea sector, Crane and Jorum Glaciers (ice-shelf tributary glaciers) on the Antarctic Peninsula, and the onset zone of a tributary to the Recovery Glacier Ice Stream in the Filchner Ice Shelf area. Mapping from optical satellite images demonstrates that longitudinal surface structures develop in two main situations: (1) as relatively wide flow stripes within glacier flow units and (2) as relatively narrow flow stripes where there is convergent flow around nunataks or at glacier confluence zones. Our observations indicate that the confluence features are narrower, sharper, and more clearly defined features. They are characterised by linear troughs or depressions on the ice surface and are much more common than the former type. Longitudinal surface structures within glacier flow units have previously been explained as the surface expression of localised bed perturbations but a universal explanation for those forming at glacier confluences is lacking. Here we propose that these features are formed at zones of ice acceleration and extensional flow at glacier confluences. We provide a schematic model for the development of longitudinal surface structures based on extensional flow that can explain their ridge and trough morphology as well as their down-ice persistence.

  4. Get Close to Glaciers with Satellite Imagery.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hall, Dorothy K.

    1986-01-01

    Discusses the use of remote sensing from satellites to monitor glaciers. Discusses efforts to use remote sensing satellites of the Landsat series for examining the global distribution, mass, balance, movements, and dynamics of the world's glaciers. Includes several Landsat images of various glaciers. (TW)

  5. Flow velocities of Alaskan glaciers.

    PubMed

    Burgess, Evan W; Forster, Richard R; Larsen, Christopher F

    2013-01-01

    Our poor understanding of tidewater glacier dynamics remains the primary source of uncertainty in sea level rise projections. On the ice sheets, mass lost from tidewater calving exceeds the amount lost from surface melting. In Alaska, the magnitude of calving mass loss remains unconstrained, yet immense calving losses have been observed. With 20% of the global new-water sea level rise coming from Alaska, partitioning of mass loss sources in Alaska is needed to improve sea level rise projections. Here we present the first regionally comprehensive map of glacier flow velocities in Central Alaska. These data reveal that the majority of the regional downstream flux is constrained to only a few coastal glaciers. We find regional calving losses are 17.1 Gt a(-1), which is equivalent to 36% of the total annual mass change throughout Central Alaska. PMID:23857302

  6. Erosion by an Alpine glacier.

    PubMed

    Herman, Frédéric; Beyssac, Olivier; Brughelli, Mattia; Lane, Stuart N; Leprince, Sébastien; Adatte, Thierry; Lin, Jiao Y Y; Avouac, Jean-Philippe; Cox, Simon C

    2015-10-01

    Assessing the impact of glaciation on Earth's surface requires understanding glacial erosion processes. Developing erosion theories is challenging because of the complex nature of the erosion processes and the difficulty of examining the ice/bedrock interface of contemporary glaciers. We demonstrate that the glacial erosion rate is proportional to the ice-sliding velocity squared, by quantifying spatial variations in ice-sliding velocity and the erosion rate of a fast-flowing Alpine glacier. The nonlinear behavior implies a high erosion sensitivity to small variations in topographic slope and precipitation. A nonlinear rate law suggests that abrasion may dominate over other erosion processes in fast-flowing glaciers. It may also explain the wide range of observed glacial erosion rates and, in part, the impact of glaciation on mountainous landscapes during the past few million years. PMID:26450208

  7. From the front

    SciTech Connect

    Price, Stephen

    2009-01-01

    The causes of recent dynamic thinning of Greenland's outlet glaciers have been debated. Realistic simulations suggest that changes at the marine fronts of these glaciers are to blame, implying that dynamic thinning will cease once the glaciers retreat to higher ground. For the last decade, many outlet glaciers in Greenland that terminate in the ocean have accelerated, thinned, and retreated. To explain these dynamic changes, two hypotheses have been discussed. Atmospheric warming has increased surface melting and may also have increased the amount of meltwater reaching the glacier bed, increasing lubrication at the base and hence the rate of glacier sliding. Alternatively, a change in the delicate balance of forces where the glacier fronts meet the ocean could trigger the changes. Faezeh Nick and colleagues5 present ice-sheet modeling experiments that mimic the observations on Helheim glacier, East Greenland, and suggest that the dynamic behaviour of outlet glaciers follows from perturbations at their marine fronts. Greenland's ice sheet loses mass partly through surface melting and partly through fast flowing outlet glaciers that connect the vast plateau of inland ice with the ocean. Earlier ice sheet models have failed to reproduce the dynamic variability exhibited by ice sheets over time. It has therefore not been possible to distinguish with confidence between basal lubrication from surface meltwater and changes at the glaciers' marine fronts as causes for the observed changes on Greenland's outlet glaciers. But this distinction bears directly on future sea-level rise, the raison d'etre of much of modern-day glaciology: If the recent dynamic mass loss Greenland's outlet glaciers is linked to changing atmospheric temperatures, it may continue for as long as temperatures continue to increase. On the other hand, if the source of the dynamic mass loss is a perturbation at the ice-ocean boundary, these glaciers will lose contact with that perturbation after a finite

  8. Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Neel, Shad; Hood, Eran; Arendt, Anthony; Sass, Louis

    2014-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to evaluate relationships among seasonal and annual glacier mass balances, glacier runoff and streamflow in two glacierized basins in different climate settings. We use long-term glacier mass balance and streamflow datasets from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Alaska Benchmark Glacier Program to compare and contrast glacier-streamflow interactions in a maritime climate (Wolverine Glacier) with those in a continental climate (Gulkana Glacier). Our overall goal is to improve our understanding of how glacier mass balance processes impact streamflow, ultimately improving our conceptual understanding of the future evolution of glacier runoff in continental and maritime climates.

  9. Mesoscale Icefield Breezes over Athbasca Glacier.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Conway, J. P.; Helgason, W.; Pomeroy, J. W.; Sicart, J. E.

    2015-12-01

    Atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) dynamics over glaciers are of great interest as they can modify the response of glacier mass balance to large scale climate forcing. A key feature of the glacier ABL is formation of katabatic winds driven by turbulent sensible heat exchange with a cooler underlying ice surface. These winds can markedly alter the spatio-temporal distribution of air temperature over glacier surfaces from the environmental lapse rate, which in turn affects the distribution of melt. An intensive field campaign was conducted over 13 days in June 2015 at Athabasca Glacier, an outlet of Columbia Icefield in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. Multiple automatic weather stations, eddy covariance systems, distributed temperature sensors, SODAR and kite profiling systems were used to characterise how the glacier ABL evolved spatially and temporally, how the differences in glacier ABL properties were related to valley and regional circulation and what effect these differences had on surface lapse rates. In general strong daytime down-glacier winds were observed over the glacier. These winds extended well beyond the glacier into the proglacial area and through the depth of lower ice-free valley. On most days wind speed was consistent or increasing through to the top of the above-glacier profiles (100 to 200 m), indicating a quite well mixed surface boundary layer. A wind speed maximum in the lowest few metres above the glacier surface, characteristic of a katabatic wind, was only observed on one day. The dominant circulation within the valley appears to be what could be termed an 'icefield breeze'; strong down-glacier winds driven by mesoscale pressure gradients that are set up by differential suface heating over the non-glaciated valleys and much the larger Columbia Icefield upstream of the glacier. The effect of the different circulations on lapse rates will be explored with a view to developing variable lapse rates for modelling glacier mass balance.

  10. A high detail benchmark dataset of mid-1980's ice margin positions for all Greenland ice masses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Citterio, M.; Ahlstrom, A. P.

    2012-12-01

    We introduce the first complete high resolution aerophotogrammetric map of Greenland ice masses, including both the ice sheet and all local glaciers and ice caps (GIC). This PROMICE (Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet) product is based on 1:150.000 scale vertical aerial photographs acquired between 1978 and 1987. The flight campaigns covered N and most of NE Greenland in 1978, E and SE Greenland in 1981, all of the west coast from 60°N to 87°N in 1985, and the remaining part of NE Greenland in 1987. Over the following decades, 1:100,000 and 1:250,000 scale topographic maps were produced by GEUS (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland), formerly GGU (Greenland Geological Survey) and by KMS (Danish National Survey and Cadastre). KMS also surveyed the vast majority of geodetic ground control points used for aerotriangulation. We manually edited the vector polygons from these topographic maps to correct issues related to debris covered ice, medial moraines, supraglacial lakes and ice contact lakes. The local ice masses in topological contact with the ice sheet but clearly independent in their ablation and accumulation areas were separated from the ice sheet by manually digitizing ice divides based on surface topography, resulting in all polygons belonging to one of the 'disconnected ice mass', 'local ice mass' or 'ice sheet' classes. The total glacierized area of the ice sheet and GIC in the 1980's was 1,804,638 km2 ± 27,268 km2 and the GIC alone covered 88,083 ± 1,240 km2. This GIC extent is significantly larger than most previously reported estimates, and it is in line with the area of 89,273 ± 2,767 km2 found independently by Rastner et al. (The Cryosphere Discuss., in review) using 1999-2002 30 m Landsat 7 imagery for ice masses with 'no or weak connection' to the ice sheet. It is not possible to assess glacier change by comparing these two aggregate totals because they are indistinguishable within the reported uncertainties, and also

  11. Evaluation of the most suitable threshold value for modelling snow glacier melt through T- index approach: the case study of Forni Glacier (Italian Alps)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Senese, Antonella; Maugeri, Maurizio; Vuillermoz, Elisa; Smiraglia, Claudio; Diolaiuti, Guglielmina

    2014-05-01

    , to assess the most suitable threshold, we firstly analyzed hourly MEB values to detect if ablation occurs and how long this phenomenon takes (number of hours per day). The largest part of the melting (97.7%) resulted occurring on days featuring at least 6 melting hours thus suggesting to consider their minimum average daily temperature value as a suitable threshold (268.1 K). Then we ran a simple T-index model applying different threshold values. The threshold which better reproduces snow melting results the value 268.1 K. Summarizing using a 5.0 K lower threshold value (with respect to the largely applied 273.15 K) permits the best reconstruction of glacier melt and it results in agreement with findings by van den Broeke et al. (2010) in Greenland ice sheet. Then probably the choice of a 268 K value as threshold for computing degree days amount could be generalized and applied not only on Greenland glaciers but also on Mid latitude and Alpine ones. This work was carried out under the umbrella of the SHARE Stelvio Project funded by the Lombardy Region and managed by FLA and EvK2-CNR Committee.

  12. A coupled ocean-sea ice-iceberg model over the 20th Century: Iceberg flux at 48°N as a proxy for Greenland iceberg discharge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilton, David; Bigg, Grant

    2013-04-01

    We have used a coupled ocean-sea ice-iceberg model, the Fine Resolution Greenland and Labrador ocean model [1], to study the variation in, and trajectory of, icebergs over the twentieth century, focusing particularly on Greenland and surrounding areas. The model is forced with daily heat, freshwater and wind fluxes derived from the Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project [2]. We use the observed iceberg flux at 48°N off Newfoundland (I48N) from 1900 to 2008 [3] as a proxy for the variation in the calving rate of Greenland tidewater glaciers. Model I48N is calculated with both a variable and constant annual calving rate. The results show that ocean and atmosphere changes alone do not account for the variation in observed I48N and, allied analysis using non-linear systems modelling, suggests that this series can be used as a proxy for the interannual Greenland Ice Sheet iceberg discharge. Our models find that in the early decades of the twentieth century I48N was dominated by icebergs originating from south Greenland (below latitude 65°N) with west Greenland becoming the main source of I48N from the late 1930s onwards. References 1. M. R. Wadley, and G. R. Bigg, (2002), Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 128, 2187-2203 2. G. P. Compo, et al. (2011), Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 137, 1-28 3. D. L. Murphy (2011) http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=IIPIcebergCounts

  13. Glacier recession in Iceland and Austria

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hall, Dorothy K.; Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Bayr, Klaus J.

    1992-01-01

    It has been possible to measure glacier recession on the basis of Landsat data, in conjunction with comparisons of the magnitude of recession of a glacier margin with in situ measurements at fixed points along the same margin. Attention is presently given to the cases of Vatnajokull ice cap, in Iceland, and the Pasterze Glacier, in Austria, on the basis of satellite data from 1973-1987 and 1984-1990, respectively. Indications of a trend toward negative mass balance are noted. Nevertheless, while most of the world's small glaciers have been receding, some are advancing either due to local climate or the tidewater glacier cycle.

  14. Glacier recession in Iceland and Austria

    SciTech Connect

    Hall, D.K.; Williams, R.S. Jr.; Bayr, K.J. USGS, Reston, VA Keene State College, NH )

    1992-03-01

    It has been possible to measure glacier recession on the basis of Landsat data, in conjunction with comparisons of the magnitude of recession of a glacier margin with in situ measurements at fixed points along the same margin. Attention is presently given to the cases of Vatnajokull ice cap, in Iceland, and the Pasterze Glacier, in Austria, on the basis of satellite data from 1973-1987 and 1984-1990, respectively. Indications of a trend toward negative mass balance are noted. Nevertheless, while most of the world's small glaciers have been receding, some are advancing either due to local climate or the tidewater glacier cycle. 21 refs.

  15. Initial results from geophysical surveys and shallow coring of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vallelonga, P.; Christianson, K.; Alley, R. B.; Anandakrishnan, S.; Christian, J. E. M.; Dahl-Jensen, D.; Gkinis, V.; Holme, C.; Jacobel, R. W.; Karlsson, N. B.; Keisling, B. A.; Kipfstuhl, S.; Kjær, H. A.; Kristensen, M. E. L.; Muto, A.; Peters, L. E.; Popp, T.; Riverman, K. L.; Svensson, A. M.; Tibuleac, C.; Vinther, B. M.; Weng, Y.; Winstrup, M.

    2014-07-01

    The Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) is the sole interior Greenlandic ice stream. Fast flow initiates near the summit dome, and the ice stream terminates approximately 1000 km downstream in three large outlet glaciers that calve into the Greenland Sea. To better understand this important system, in the summer of 2012 we drilled a 67 m firn core and conducted ground-based radio-echo sounding (RES) and active-source seismic surveys at a site approximately 150 km downstream from the onset of streaming flow (NEGIS firn core, 75°37.61' N, 35°56.49' W). The site is representative of the upper part of the ice stream, while also being in a crevasse-free area for safe surface operations. Annual cycles were observed for insoluble dust, sodium and ammonium concentrations and for electrolytic conductivity, allowing a seasonally resolved chronology covering the past 400 yr. Annual layer thicknesses averaged 0.11 m ice equivalent (i.e.) for the period 1607-2011, although accumulation varied between 0.08 and 0.14 m i.e., likely due to flow-related changes in surface topography. Tracing of RES layers from the NGRIP (North Greenland Ice Core Project) ice core site shows that the ice at NEGIS preserves a climatic record of at least the past 51 kyr. We demonstrate that deep ice core drilling in this location can provide a reliable Holocene and late-glacial climate record, as well as helping to constrain the past dynamics and ice-lithosphere interactions of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

  16. Impact of Holocene climate variability on lacustrine records and human settlements in South Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guillemot, T.; Bichet, V.; Simonneau, A.; Rius, D.; Massa, C.; Gauthier, E.; Richard, H.; Magny, M.

    2015-11-01

    Due to its sensitivity to climate changes, south Greenland is a particularly suitable area to study past global climate changes and their influence on locale Human settlements. A paleohydrological investigation was therefore carried out on two river-fed lakes: Lake Qallimiut and Little Kangerluluup, both located close to the Labrador Sea in the historic farming center of Greenland. Two sediment cores (QAL-2011 and LKG-2011), spanning the last four millennia, were retrieved and showed similar thin laminae, described by high magnetic susceptibility and density, high titanium and TOC / TN atomic ratio, and coarse grain size. They are also characterized either by inverse grading followed by normal grading or by normal grading only and a prevalence of red amorphous particles and lignocellulosic fragments, typical of flood deposits. Flood events showed similar trend in both records: they mainly occurred during cooler and wetter periods characterized by weaker Greenlandic paleo-temperatures, substantial glacier advances, and a high precipitation on the Greenlandic Ice Sheet and North Atlantic ice-rafting events. They can therefore be interpreted as a result of ice and snow-melting episodes. They occurred especially during rapid climate changes (RCC) such as the Middle to Late Holocene transition around 2250 BC, the Sub-boreal/Sub-atlantic transition around 700 BC and the Little Ice Age (LIA) between AD 1300 and AD 1900, separated by cycles of 1500 years and driven by solar forcing. These global RCC revealed by QAL-2011 and LKG-2011 flood events may have influenced Human settlements in south Greenland, especially the paleo-Eskimo cultures and the Norse settlement, and have been mainly responsible for their demise.

  17. The contribution of glacier melt to streamflow

    SciTech Connect

    Schaner, Neil; Voisin, Nathalie; Nijssen, Bart; Lettenmaier, D. P.

    2012-09-13

    Ongoing and projected future changes in glacier extent and water storage globally have lead to concerns about the implications for water supplies. However, the current magnitude of glacier contributions to river runoff is not well known, nor is the population at risk to future glacier changes. We estimate an upper bound on glacier melt contribution to seasonal streamflow by computing the energy balance of glaciers globally. Melt water quantities are computed as a fraction of total streamflow simulated using a hydrology model and the melt fraction is tracked down the stream network. In general, our estimates of the glacier melt contribution to streamflow are lower than previously published values. Nonetheless, we find that globally an estimated 225 (36) million people live in river basins where maximum seasonal glacier melt contributes at least 10% (25%) of streamflow, mostly in the High Asia region.

  18. Spatially heterogeneous wastage of Himalayan glaciers

    PubMed Central

    Fujita, Koji; Nuimura, Takayuki

    2011-01-01

    We describe volumetric changes in three benchmark glaciers in the Nepal Himalayas on which observations have been made since the 1970s. Compared with the global mean of glacier mass balance, the Himalayan glaciers showed rapid wastage in the 1970s–1990s, but similar wastage in the last decade. In the last decade, a glacier in an arid climate showed negative but suppressed mass balance compared with the period 1970s–1990s, whereas two glaciers in a humid climate showed accelerated wastage. A mass balance model with downscaled gridded datasets depicts the fate of the observed glaciers. We also show a spatially heterogeneous distribution of glacier wastage in the Asian highlands, even under the present-day climate warming. PMID:21808042

  19. Mountain Glaciers and Ice Caps

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ananichheva, Maria; Arendt, Anthony; Hagen, Jon-Ove; Hock, Regine; Josberger, Edward G.; Moore, R. Dan; Pfeffer, William Tad; Wolken, Gabriel J.

    2011-01-01

    Projections of future rates of mass loss from mountain glaciers and ice caps in the Arctic focus primarily on projections of changes in the surface mass balance. Current models are not yet capable of making realistic forecasts of changes in losses by calving. Surface mass balance models are forced with downscaled output from climate models driven by forcing scenarios that make assumptions about the future rate of growth of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Thus, mass loss projections vary considerably, depending on the forcing scenario used and the climate model from which climate projections are derived. A new study in which a surface mass balance model is driven by output from ten general circulation models (GCMs) forced by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) A1B emissions scenario yields estimates of total mass loss of between 51 and 136 mm sea-level equivalent (SLE) (or 13% to 36% of current glacier volume) by 2100. This implies that there will still be substantial glacier mass in the Arctic in 2100 and that Arctic mountain glaciers and ice caps will continue to influence global sea-level change well into the 22nd century.

  20. UV - GLACIER NATIONAL PARK MT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Brewer 134 is located in Glacier NP, measuring ultraviolet solar radiation. Irradiance and column ozone are derived from this data. Ultraviolet solar radiation is measured with a Brewer Mark IV, single-monochrometer, spectrophotometer manufactured by SCI-TEC Instruments, Inc. of ...

  1. Microbial Habitat on Kilimanjaro's Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ponce, A.; Beaty, S. M.; Lee, C.; Lee, C.; Noell, A. C.; Stam, C. N.; Connon, S. A.

    2011-03-01

    Kilimanjaro glaciers captured a history of microbial diversity and abundance of supraglacial habitats. We show that a majority of bacterial clones, as determined by bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing, are most closely related to those isolated from cold-water environments.

  2. The current disequilibrium of North Cascade glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pelto, Mauri S.

    2006-03-01

    Three lines of evidence indicate that North Cascade (Washington, USA) glaciers are currently in a state of disequilibrium. First, annual balance measured on nine glaciers yields a mean cumulative balance for the 1984-2004 period of -8.58 m water equivalent (w.e.), a net loss of ice thickness exceeding 9.5 m. This is a significant loss for glaciers that average 30-50 m in thickness, representing 18-32% of their entire volume.Second, longitudinal profiles completed in 1984 and 2002 on 12 North Cascade glaciers confirm this volume change indicating a loss of -5.7 to -6.3 m in thickness (5.0-5.6 m w.e.) between 1984 and 2002, agreeing well with the measured cumulative balance of -5.52 m w.e. for the same period. The change in thickness on several glaciers has been equally substantial in the accumulation zone and the ablation zone, indicating that there is no point to which the glacier can retreat to achieve equilibrium. Substantial thinning along the entire length of a glacier is the key indicator that a glacier is in disequilibrium.Third, North Cascade glacier retreat is rapid and ubiquitous. All 47 glaciers monitored are currently undergoing significant retreat or, in the case of four, have disappeared. Two of the glaciers where mass balance observations were begun, Spider Glacier and Lewis Glacier, have disappeared. The retreat since 1984 of eight Mount Baker glaciers that were all advancing in 1975 has averaged 297 m. These observations indicate broad regional continuity in glacial response to climate.

  3. Recent sea-level contributions of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.

    PubMed

    Shepherd, Andrew; Wingham, Duncan

    2007-03-16

    After a century of polar exploration, the past decade of satellite measurements has painted an altogether new picture of how Earth's ice sheets are changing. As global temperatures have risen, so have rates of snowfall, ice melting, and glacier flow. Although the balance between these opposing processes has varied considerably on a regional scale, data show that Antarctica and Greenland are each losing mass overall. Our best estimate of their combined imbalance is about 125 gigatons per year of ice, enough to raise sea level by 0.35 millimeters per year. This is only a modest contribution to the present rate of sea-level rise of 3.0 millimeters per year. However, much of the loss from Antarctica and Greenland is the result of the flow of ice to the ocean from ice streams and glaciers, which has accelerated over the past decade. In both continents, there are suspected triggers for the accelerated ice discharge-surface and ocean warming, respectively-and, over the course of the 21st century, these processes could rapidly counteract the snowfall gains predicted by present coupled climate models. PMID:17363663

  4. The Extent of Channelized Basal Water Flow Under the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Downs, J.; Johnson, J. V.; Harper, J. T.

    2015-12-01

    Glacial ice flows due to a combination of deformation and basal sliding, with sliding accounting for most of the fastest ice flow. Basal sliding is controlled by the transport of water at the glacier's bed, which can be accomplished through both high pressure, low discharge, distributed flow, or low pressure, high discharge, channelized flow. Higher pressures are generally associated with more complete decoupling of a glacier from its bed and faster flow. As the intensity of summer melt in Greenland has increased, our poor understanding of the drainage network's discharge capacity and its coupling to sliding has generated fundamental questions, such as: will larger fluxes of liquid water promote or inhibit basal sliding? To investigate this question we have implemented a model of distributed and channelized flow developed by Werder et. al 2013. The sensitivity of the modeled channel network to basal and surface geometry, melt rate, boundary conditions, and other parameters is examined in a sequence of experiments using synthetic geometries. Expanding on these experiments, we run the model with realistic surface and bedrock data from Issunguata Sermia in Western Central Greenland. These experiments benefit from a wealth of in-situ data, including observations of basal water pressure. Our results suggest that the development of large channels is limited to the margins of the ice sheet, and that higher pressures continue to prevail in the interior.

  5. Modelling calving front dynamics using a level-set method: application to Jakobshavn Isbræ, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bondzio, Johannes H.; Seroussi, Hélène; Morlighem, Mathieu; Kleiner, Thomas; Rückamp, Martin; Humbert, Angelika; Larour, Eric Y.

    2016-03-01

    Calving is a major mechanism of ice discharge of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, and a change in calving front position affects the entire stress regime of marine terminating glaciers. The representation of calving front dynamics in a 2-D or 3-D ice sheet model remains non-trivial. Here, we present the theoretical and technical framework for a level-set method, an implicit boundary tracking scheme, which we implement into the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM). This scheme allows us to study the dynamic response of a drainage basin to user-defined calving rates. We apply the method to Jakobshavn Isbræ, a major marine terminating outlet glacier of the West Greenland Ice Sheet. The model robustly reproduces the high sensitivity of the glacier to calving, and we find that enhanced calving triggers significant acceleration of the ice stream. Upstream acceleration is sustained through a combination of mechanisms. However, both lateral stress and ice influx stabilize the ice stream. This study provides new insights into the ongoing changes occurring at Jakobshavn Isbræ and emphasizes that the incorporation of moving boundaries and dynamic lateral effects, not captured in flow-line models, is key for realistic model projections of sea level rise on centennial timescales.

  6. Measuring the Surface Motion of Fast-Moving Glaciers with Expendable, Low-Cost GPS (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howat, I. M.; Behar, A. E.; Brown, A. K.

    2009-12-01

    The recent retreats and acceleration in flow speeds of marine-terminating glaciers around the globe have raised concern over the potential for rapid loss of ice and increased rates of sea level rise. The dynamics of these glaciers are poorly understood, partly due to the difficulty in obtaining observations of ice flow speed that can be compared to potentially important forcing variables, such as air and ocean temperatures or calving rates. The high flow speeds (often >10 m/day) and large strain rates the near the fronts of these glaciers result in extreme crevassing, making surface travel for instrument deployment impossible. Due to this impassibility, measurements of surface motion have come predominantly from optical surveying or repeat satellite or photographic imaging. Remote sensing methods are limited in spatial and temporal resolution and optical surveys require manual operation in the field and have limited range. In contrast, Global Positioning System (GPS ) receivers offer very high resolution and, once deployed, collect data autonomously. GPS has been used to measure glacier surface motion for over a decade. Dual-frequency systems can yield post-processed displacements with accuracies of 1 cm or less, with a temporal resolution of minutes. These observations have been critical for resolving the stick-slip motion of Antarctic ice streams and the controls on glacial “icequakes” in Greenland. These systems have been combined with satellite-based data telemetry systems to provide near real-time position data to any location. These systems, however, typically cost several thousands of dollars, preventing their deployment in situations with low or no probability of recovery. The few field programs that have deployed dual-frequency receivers on fast-moving glaciers retrieved the systems after only a few days to prevent loss. While some investigators may be able to absorb the cost of loss of these systems, large-scale deployments will require a more cost

  7. OMEGA - an operational glacier monitoring system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pellikka, P. K. E.

    2003-04-01

    Glacier changes reflect local climate changes and are one of the most important direct indicators of global climate change. In general, the glaciers are retreating in Europe, but some glaciers are advancing. However, even in small areas glacier responses can be different. The application of glaciers as indicators requires sufficient amount of glaciers, which is possible only with remote sensing methods. Remote sensing data have been used for glacier monitoring from the late 19th century, first as terrestrial photographs, but later as aerial photographs. A new era began in the 1970’s as optical satellite data became available. Since late 1990’s the glacier monitoring could be performed with numerous satellite and airborne sensors ranging from satellite radar data to airborne laser scanner data. All together, the development of new remote sensing technologies and methods provides many possibilities for studies of glacier features and parameters. The glacier parameters of interest in operational monitoring are the changes of glacier area and volume, and the variation of glacier zones, such as snow, firn and ice. These parameters enable the estimation of relative volume change, AAR and equilibrium line, for example. Operational monitoring involves that the remote sensing data to be used is available continuously, the image processing methods are accurate and the processing chain is developed so that the derivation of the aimed parameters works fluently. The OMEGA project aims at the development of an operational glacier monitoring system applying all the potential remote sensing data. The objectives are to develop workflows and semi-automatic image processing methodologies for different data types in order to retrieve glacier parameters, to construct databases of the study glaciers and to develop the prototype of an operational monitoring system. The test glaciers are Hintereisferner in Austria and Engabreen in Norway. The deliverable of the project is the OMEGA

  8. Glacier area changes in Northern Eurasia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khromova, Tatiana; Nosenko, Gennady; Kutuzov, Stanislav; Muraviev, Anton; Chernova, Ludmila

    2014-01-01

    Glaciers are widely recognized as key indicators of climate change. Recent evidence suggests an acceleration of glacier mass loss in several key mountain regions. Glacier recession implies landscape changes in the glacial zone, the origin of new lakes and activation of natural disaster processes, catastrophic mudflows, ice avalanches, outburst floods, etc. The absence or inadequacy of such information results in financial and human losses. A more comprehensive evaluation of glacier changes is imperative to assess ice contributions to global sea level rise and the future of water resources from glacial basins. One of the urgent steps is a full inventory of all ice bodies and their changes. The first estimation of glacier state and glacier distribution on the territory of the former Soviet Union has been done in the USSR Glacier Inventory (UGI) published in 1965-1982. The UGI is based on topographic maps and air photos and reflects the status of the glaciers in the 1940s-1970s. There is information about 28 884 glaciers with an area of 7830.75 km2 in the inventory. It covers 25 glacier systems in Northern Eurasia. In the 1980s the UGI has been transformed into digital form as a part of the World Glacier Inventory (WGI). Recent satellite data provide a unique opportunity to look again at these glaciers and to evaluate changes in glacier extent for the second part of the 20th century. About 15 000 glacier outlines for the Caucasus, Polar Urals, Pamir Alay, Tien Shan, Altai, Kamchatka and Russian Arctic have been derived from ASTER and Landsat imagery and can be used for glacier change evaluation. Results of the analysis indicate the steady trend in glacier shrinkage in all mountain regions for the second part of the 20th century. Glacier area loss for the studied regions varies from 13% (Tien Shan) to 22.3% (Polar Urals). The common driver, most likely, is an increase in summer air temperature. There is also a very large variability in the degree of individual

  9. Glaciers in the Rupal Valley (Nanga Parbat)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmidt, Susanne; Nüsser, Marcus

    2014-05-01

    The widely discussed controversy about Himalayan glacier changes instigated a current boom in studies on a regional scale. In contrast to often simplified assumptions of general and mostly rapid glacier retreat, recent studies show a more complex pattern with stable, advancing and retreating glaciers. Furthermore, changes of debris covered glaciers are discussed controversial. Due to the great vertical span and steep relief, large ice streams in the Himalaya and Karakoram are often primarily fed by avalanches. Their impact on glacier mass balances is often unconsidered in present studies. However, Hewitt (2014) highlighted the crucial role of snow and ice re-distribution by avalanches for Karakoram glaciers. He used a concept of glacier typology based on different nourishment processes introduced at the beginning of the 20th century. By using this concept, Hewitt classified large glaciers in order to identify the effect of avalanches on the mass balance, because many Karakoram glaciers show low down-wasting or even thickening processes described as the "Karakoram anomaly" (Hewitt 2005). Also in the Nanga Parbat region, the western corner of the High Himalaya, the topography is characterized by steep rock walls with vertical distances up to 4700 m. The debris covered glaciers reach down to 2920 m a.s.l. and are regularly fed by small and large avalanches. Our field based investigations show that the glaciers are characterized by small retreating rates since 1857, when Adolph Schlagintweit has mapped them for the first time; others such as the Raikot Glacier are fluctuating since 1934. Furthermore, the extent of down-wasting varies between different glaciers. By using multi-temporal satellite data, topographical maps, sketches and terrestrial photographs changes of glacier lengths were measured. In order to calculate the down-wasting rates, a digital elevation model (DEM) with a spatial resolution of 30x30 m² was derived from the digitized contour lines of the

  10. Hasty retreat of glaciers in northern Patagonia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paul, Frank; Mölg, Nico

    2014-05-01

    Mapping glacier extent from optical satellite data has become a most efficient tool to create or update glacier inventories and determine glacier changes over time. A most valuable archive in this regard is the nearly 30-year time series of Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) data that is freely available (already orthorectified) for most regions in the world from the USGS. One region with a most dramatic glacier shrinkage and a missing systematic assessment of changes, is the Palena province in Chile, located south of Puerto Montt in northern Patagonia. A major bottleneck for accurate determination of glacier changes in this region is related to the huge amounts of snow falling in this very maritime region, hiding the perimeter of glaciers throughout the year. Consequently, we found only three years with Landsat scenes that can be used to map glacier extent through time. We here present the results of a glacier change analysis from six Landsat scenes (path-rows 232-89/90) acquired in 1985, 2000 and 2011 covering the Palena district in Chile and neighbouring regions. Clean glacier ice was mapped automatically with a standard technique (TM3/TM band ratio) and manual editing was applied to remove wrongly classified lakes and to add debris-covered glacier parts. The digital elevation model (DEM) from ASTER (GDEM2) was used to derive drainage divides, determine glacier specific topographic parameters, and analyse the area changes in regard to topography. The scene from the year 2000 has the best snow conditions and was used to eliminate seasonal snow in the other two scenes by digital combination of the binary glacier masks and neighbourhood analysis. The derived mean relative area loss over the entire study area is 25%, showing a large spatial variability and a strong dependence on elevation. While small mountain glaciers at high elevations and steep slopes show only little change over the 26-year period, ice at low elevations from large valley glaciers shows a dramatic

  11. Modelling the behaviour of tidewater glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nick, Faezeh Maghami

    2006-09-01

    More than half of the annual mass transfer from whole cryosphere to the world's oceans occurs through calving. Uncertainties in predicting future sea level are partly caused by a lack of knowledge of the behaviour of calving glaciers. A better understanding of the factors that control the response of calving glaciers to climate change is needed to interpret the past or predict the future behaviour of these glaciers in a warmer climate. Over the past years, interest in the response of calving glaciers to climate change has increased considarably. Many bservational and modelling studies have been carried out to investigate the dynamics of the calving process and the associated response of the glacier terminus. It has been suggested that calving glaciers are inherently unstable showing a periodic advance and retreat that may be nearly independent of climate. The cycle of slow advance and rapid retreat of calving glaciers is mainly a function of fjord geometry, water depth at the glacier terminus, and sedimentation at the glacier front. Some other studies show that climate acts as a first-order control on the advance/retreat. Hence, the diverse behaviour of calving glaciers is a result of both internal dynamics and climate. In this thesis the dynamics of tidewater glaciers (temperate grounded calving glaciers) and the involved processes such as iceberg calving, basal sliding, and proglacial moraine bank are investigated. A numerical ice-flow model is developed, which simulates the rapid retreat and slow advance of tidewater glaciers very well. To construct a time-evolving numerical model that simulates the behaviour of calving glaciers, it is necessary to formulate realistic calving boundary conditions. Empirical studies provide two different calving schemes, the flotation and the water-depth model. We introduce two numerical ice-flow models using the water-depth and the flotation scheme. The results show that any model in which the loss of ice at the glacier front

  12. Surface and sub-surface multi-proxy reconstruction of middle to late Holocene palaeoceanographic changes in Disko Bugt, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moros, Matthias; Lloyd, Jeremy M.; Perner, Kerstin; Krawczyk, Diana; Blanz, Thomas; de Vernal, Anne; Ouellet-Bernier, Marie-Michele; Kuijpers, Antoon; Jennings, Anne E.; Witkowski, Andrzej; Schneider, Ralph; Jansen, Eystein

    2016-01-01

    We present new surface water proxy records of meltwater production (alkenone derived), relative sea surface temperature (diatom, alkenones) and sea ice (diatoms) changes from the Disko Bugt area off central West Greenland. We combine these new surface water reconstructions with published proxy records (benthic foraminifera - bottom water proxy; dinocyst assemblages - surface water proxy), along with atmospheric temperature from Greenland ice core and Greenland lake records. This multi-proxy approach allows us to reconstruct centennial scale middle to late Holocene palaeoenvironmental evolution of Disko Bugt and the Western Greenland coastal region with more detail than previously available. Combining surface and bottom water proxies identifies the coupling between ocean circulation (West Greenland Current conditions), the atmosphere and the Greenland Ice Sheet. Centennial to millennial scale changes in the wider North Atlantic region were accompanied by variations in the West Greenland Current (WGC). During periods of relatively warm WGC, increased surface air temperature over western Greenland led to ice sheet retreat and significant meltwater flux. In contrast, during periods of cold WGC, atmospheric cooling resulted in glacier advances. We also identify potential linkages between the palaeoceanography of the Disko Bugt region and key changes in the history of human occupation. Cooler oceanographic conditions at 3.5 ka BP support the view that the Saqqaq culture left Disko Bugt due to deteriorating climatic conditions. The cause of the disappearance of the Dorset culture is unclear, but the new data presented here indicate that it may be linked to a significant increase in meltwater flux, which caused cold and unstable coastal conditions at ca. 2 ka BP. The subsequent settlement of the Norse occurred at the same time as climatic amelioration during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and their disappearance may be related to harsher conditions at the beginning of the

  13. Generation of the relationship between glacier area and volume for a tropical glacier in Bolivian Andes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, T.; Kinouchi, T.; Hasegawa, A.; Tsuda, M.; Iwami, Y.; Asaoka, Y.; Mendoza, J.

    2015-12-01

    In Andes, retreat of tropical glaciers is rapid, thus water resources currently available from glacierized catchments would be changed in its volume and temporal variations due to climate change and glacier shrinkage. The relationship between glacier area and volume is difficult to define however which is important to monitor glaciers especially those are remote or inaccessible. Water resources in La Paz and El Alto in Bolivia, strongly depend on the runoff from glacierized headwater catchments in the Cordillera Real, Andes, which is therefore selected as our study region.To predict annual glacier mass balances, PWRI-Distributed Hydrological Model (PWRI-DHM) was applied to simulate runoff from the partially glacierized catchments in high mountains (i.e. Condoriri-Huayna West headwater catchment located in the Cordillera Real, Bolivian Andes). PWRI-DHM is based on tank model concept in a distributed and 4-tank configuration including surface, unsaturated, aquifer, and river course tanks. The model was calibrated and validated with observed meteorological and hydrological data from 2011 to 2014 by considering different phases of precipitation, various runoff components from glacierized and non-glacierized areas, and the retarding effect by glacial lakes and wetlands. The model is then applied with MRI-AGCM outputs from 1987 to 2003 considering the shrinkage of glacier outlines since 1980s derived from Landsat data. Annual glacier mass balance in each 100m-grid was reproduced, with which the glacier area-volume relationship was generated with reasonable initial volume setting. Out study established a method to define the relationship between glacier area and volume by remote sensing information and glacier mass balances simulated by distributed hydrological model. Our results demonstrated that the changing trend of local glacier had a consistency the previous observed glacier area-volume relationship in the Cordillera Real.

  14. Using Metaphorical Models for Describing Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Felzmann, Dirk

    2014-11-01

    To date, there has only been little conceptual change research regarding conceptions about glaciers. This study used the theoretical background of embodied cognition to reconstruct different metaphorical concepts with respect to the structure of a glacier. Applying the Model of Educational Reconstruction, the conceptions of students and scientists regarding glaciers were analysed. Students' conceptions were the result of teaching experiments whereby students received instruction about glaciers and ice ages and were then interviewed about their understandings. Scientists' conceptions were based on analyses of textbooks. Accordingly, four conceptual metaphors regarding the concept of a glacier were reconstructed: a glacier is a body of ice; a glacier is a container; a glacier is a reflexive body and a glacier is a flow. Students and scientists differ with respect to in which context they apply each conceptual metaphor. It was observed, however, that students vacillate among the various conceptual metaphors as they solve tasks. While the subject context of the task activates a specific conceptual metaphor, within the discussion about the solution, the students were able to adapt their conception by changing the conceptual metaphor. Educational strategies for teaching students about glaciers require specific language to ac