Articles | Volume 14, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 14, 309–330, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-14-309-2020
The Cryosphere, 14, 309–330, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-14-309-2020

Research article 29 Jan 2020

Research article | 29 Jan 2020

Glacier algae accelerate melt rates on the south-western Greenland Ice Sheet

Joseph M. Cook et al.

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Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is a major source of uncertainty for sea level rise projections. Ice-darkening due to the growth of algae has been recognized as a potential accelerator of melting. This paper measures and models the algae-driven ice melting and maps the algae over the ice sheet for the first time. We estimate that as much as 13 % total runoff from the south-western GrIS can be attributed to these algae, showing that they must be included in future mass balance models.