Articles | Volume 14, issue 1
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-14-309-2020
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, Andrew J. Tedstone, Christopher Williamson, Jenine McCutcheon, Andrew J. Hodson, Archana Dayal, McKenzie Skiles, Stefan Hofer, Robert Bryant, Owen McAree, Andrew McGonigle, Jonathan Ryan, Alexandre M. Anesio, Tristram D. L. Irvine-Fynn, Alun Hubbard, Edward Hanna, Mark Flanner, Sathish Mayanna, Liane G. Benning, Dirk van As, Marian Yallop, James B. McQuaid, Thomas Gribbin, and Martyn Tranter

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Short summary
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.