Articles | Volume 15, issue 3
01 Apr 2021
Research article | 01 Apr 2021
Winter drainage of surface lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet from Sentinel-1 SAR imagery
Corinne L. Benedek and Ian C. Willis
No articles found.
Karla Boxall, Frazer D. W. Christie, Ian C. Willis, Jan Wuite, and Thomas Nagler
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript accepted for TCShort summary
Using high spatial and temporal resolution satellite imagery, we provide the first evidence for seasonal flow variability of land ice draining to George VI Ice Shelf (GVIIS), Antarctica. Our findings imply that other glaciers in Antarctica may be susceptible to — and currently undergoing — similar ocean-driven ice flow seasonality, especially those fronted by warm-based, CDW-laden ice-shelf cavities such as Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers.
Rebecca Dell, Neil Arnold, Ian Willis, Alison Banwell, Andrew Williamson, Hamish Pritchard, and Andrew Orr
The Cryosphere, 14, 2313–2330,Short summary
A semi-automated method is developed from pre-existing work to track surface water bodies across Antarctic ice shelves over time, using data from Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8. This method is applied to the Nivlisen Ice Shelf for the 2016–2017 melt season. The results reveal two large linear meltwater systems, which hold 63 % of the peak total surface meltwater volume on 26 January 2017. These meltwater systems migrate towards the ice shelf front as the melt season progresses.
Lindsey I. Nicholson, Michael McCarthy, Hamish D. Pritchard, and Ian Willis
The Cryosphere, 12, 3719–3734,Short summary
Ground-penetrating radar of supraglacial debris thickness is used to study local thickness variability. Freshly emergent debris cover appears to have higher skewness and kurtosis than more mature debris covers. Accounting for debris thickness variability in ablation models can result in markedly different ice ablation than is calculated using the mean debris thickness. Slope stability modelling reveals likely locations for locally thin debris with high ablation.
Andrew G. Williamson, Alison F. Banwell, Ian C. Willis, and Neil S. Arnold
The Cryosphere, 12, 3045–3065,Short summary
A new approach is presented for automatically monitoring changes to area and volume of surface lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet using Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 satellite data. The dual-satellite record improves on previous work since it tracks changes to more lakes (including small ones), identifies more lake-drainage events, and has higher precision. The results also show that small lakes are important in ice-sheet hydrology as they route more surface run-off into the ice sheet than large lakes.
Related subject area
Discipline: Ice sheets | Subject: GreenlandThe impact of climate oscillations on the surface energy budget over the Greenland Ice Sheet in a changing climateGBaTSv2: a revised synthesis of the likely basal thermal state of the Greenland Ice SheetUnravelling the long-term, locally heterogenous response of Greenland glaciers observed in archival photographySimulating the Holocene deglaciation across a marine-terminating portion of southwestern Greenland in response to marine and atmospheric forcingsComparison of ice dynamics using full-Stokes and Blatter–Pattyn approximation: application to the Northeast Greenland Ice StreamMelt probabilities and surface temperature trends on the Greenland ice sheet using a Gaussian mixture modelHigh-resolution imaging of supraglacial hydrological features on the Greenland Ice Sheet with NASA’s Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) instrument suiteModelling the effect of submarine iceberg melting on glacier-adjacent water propertiesMulti-decadal retreat of marine-terminating outlet glaciers in northwest and central-west GreenlandA new L4 multi-sensor ice surface temperature product for the Greenland Ice SheetSources of uncertainty in Greenland surface mass balance in the 21st centuryProper orthogonal decomposition of ice velocity identifies drivers of flow variability at Sermeq Kujalleq (Jakobshavn Isbræ)Brief communication: A roadmap towards credible projections of ice sheet contribution to sea levelAutomated detection and analysis of surface calving waves with a terrestrial radar interferometer at the front of Eqip Sermia, GreenlandGeneration and fate of basal meltwater during winter, western Greenland Ice SheetModeling the Greenland englacial stratigraphyUpstream flow effects revealed in the EastGRIP ice core using Monte Carlo inversion of a two-dimensional ice-flow modelIndication of high basal melting at the EastGRIP drill site on the Northeast Greenland Ice StreamBrief communication: Reduction in the future Greenland ice sheet surface melt with the help of solar geoengineeringContrasting regional variability of buried meltwater extent over 2 years across the Greenland Ice SheetSensitivity of the Greenland surface mass and energy balance to uncertainties in key model parametersSurface melting over the Greenland ice sheet derived from enhanced resolution passive microwave brightness temperatures (1979–2019)Impact of updated radiative transfer scheme in snow and ice in RACMO2.3p3 on the surface mass and energy budget of the Greenland ice sheetBasal traction mainly dictated by hard-bed physics over grounded regions of GreenlandThe GRISLI-LSCE contribution to the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (ISMIP6) – Part 1: Projections of the Greenland ice sheet evolution by the end of the 21st centuryThe cooling signature of basal crevasses in a hard-bedded region of the Greenland Ice SheetLast glacial ice sheet dynamics offshore NE Greenland – a case study from Store Koldewey TroughLarge and irreversible future decline of the Greenland ice sheetGrSMBMIP: intercomparison of the modelled 1980–2012 surface mass balance over the Greenland Ice SheetThe firn meltwater Retention Model Intercomparison Project (RetMIP): evaluation of nine firn models at four weather station sites on the Greenland ice sheetEvaluation of a new snow albedo scheme for the Greenland ice sheet in the Regional Atmospheric Climate Model (RACMO2)Surface velocity of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS): assessment of interior velocities derived from satellite data by GPSIntercomparison of surface meltwater routing models for the Greenland ice sheet and influence on subglacial effective pressuresSensitivity of Greenland ice sheet projections to spatial resolution in higher-order simulations: the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) contribution to ISMIP6 Greenland using the Ice-sheet and Sea-level System Model (ISSM)The future sea-level contribution of the Greenland ice sheet: a multi-model ensemble study of ISMIP6Present-day and future Greenland Ice Sheet precipitation frequency from CloudSat observations and the Community Earth System ModelThe added value of high resolution in estimating the surface mass balance in southern GreenlandHorizontal ice flow impacts the firn structure of Greenland's percolation zoneBrief communication: CESM2 climate forcing (1950–2014) yields realistic Greenland ice sheet surface mass balanceUnprecedented atmospheric conditions (1948–2019) drive the 2019 exceptional melting season over the Greenland ice sheetCalving event size measurements and statistics of Eqip Sermia, Greenland, from terrestrial radar interferometryBrief communication: Evaluation of the near-surface climate in ERA5 over the Greenland Ice SheetAlgal growth and weathering crust state drive variability in western Greenland Ice Sheet ice albedoRelating regional and point measurements of accumulation in southwest GreenlandSurface mass balance downscaling through elevation classes in an Earth system model: application to the Greenland ice sheetBrief communication: Subglacial lake drainage beneath Isunguata Sermia, West Greenland: geomorphic and ice dynamic effectsThe surface albedo of the Greenland Ice Sheet between 1982 and 2015 from the CLARA-A2 dataset and its relationship to the ice sheet's surface mass balanceSubmarine melt as a potential trigger of the North East Greenland Ice Stream margin retreat during Marine Isotope Stage 3Firn data compilation reveals widespread decrease of firn air content in western GreenlandIncreased Greenland melt triggered by large-scale, year-round cyclonic moisture intrusions
Tiago Silva, Jakob Abermann, Brice Noël, Sonika Shahi, Willem Jan van de Berg, and Wolfgang Schöner
The Cryosphere, 16, 3375–3391,Short summary
To overcome internal climate variability, this study uses k-means clustering to combine NAO, GBI and IWV over the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) and names the approach as the North Atlantic influence on Greenland (NAG). With the support of a polar-adapted RCM, spatio-temporal changes on SEB components within NAG phases are investigated. We report atmospheric warming and moistening across all NAG phases as well as large-scale and regional-scale contributions to GrIS mass loss and their interactions.
Joseph A. MacGregor, Winnie Chu, William T. Colgan, Mark A. Fahnestock, Denis Felikson, Nanna B. Karlsson, Sophie M. J. Nowicki, and Michael Studinger
The Cryosphere, 16, 3033–3049,Short summary
Where the bottom of the Greenland Ice Sheet is frozen and where it is thawed is not well known, yet knowing this state is increasingly important to interpret modern changes in ice flow there. We produced a second synthesis of knowledge of the basal thermal state of the ice sheet using airborne and satellite observations and numerical models. About one-third of the ice sheet’s bed is likely thawed; two-fifths is likely frozen; and the remainder is too uncertain to specify.
Michael A. Cooper, Paulina Lewińska, William A. P. Smith, Edwin R. Hancock, Julian A. Dowdeswell, and David M. Rippin
The Cryosphere, 16, 2449–2470,Short summary
Here we use old photographs gathered several decades ago to expand the temporal record of glacier change in part of East Greenland. This is important because the longer the record of past glacier change, the better we are at predicting future glacier behaviour. Our work also shows that despite all these glaciers retreating, the rate at which they do this varies markedly. It is therefore important to consider outlet glaciers from Greenland individually to take account of this differing behaviour.
Joshua K. Cuzzone, Nicolás E. Young, Mathieu Morlighem, Jason P. Briner, and Nicole-Jeanne Schlegel
The Cryosphere, 16, 2355–2372,Short summary
We use an ice sheet model to determine what influenced the Greenland Ice Sheet to retreat across a portion of southwestern Greenland during the Holocene (about the last 12 000 years). Our simulations, constrained by observations from geologic markers, show that atmospheric warming and ice melt primarily caused the ice sheet to retreat rapidly across this domain. We find, however, that iceberg calving at the interface where the ice meets the ocean significantly influenced ice mass change.
Martin Rückamp, Thomas Kleiner, and Angelika Humbert
The Cryosphere, 16, 1675–1696,Short summary
We present a comparative modelling study between the full-Stokes (FS) and Blatter–Pattyn (BP) approximation applied to the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream. Both stress regimes are implemented in one single ice sheet code to eliminate numerical issues. The simulations unveil minor differences in the upper ice stream but become considerable at the grounding line of the 79° North Glacier. Model differences are stronger for a power-law friction than a linear friction law.
Daniel Clarkson, Emma Eastoe, and Amber Leeson
The Cryosphere, 16, 1597–1607,Short summary
The Greenland ice sheet has seen large amounts of melt in recent years, and accurately modelling temperatures is vital to understand how much of the ice sheet is melting. We estimate the probability of melt from ice surface temperature data to identify which areas of the ice sheet have experienced melt and estimate temperature quantiles. Our results suggest that for large areas of the ice sheet, melt has become more likely over the past 2 decades and high temperatures are also becoming warmer.
Michael Studinger, Serdar S. Manizade, Matthew A. Linkswiler, and James K. Yungel
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript accepted for TCShort summary
The footprint density and high-resolution imagery of airborne surveys reveals details in supraglacial hydrological features that are currently not obtainable from spaceborne data. The accuracy and resolution of airborne measurements complement spaceborne measurements, can support calibration and validation of spaceborne methods, and provide information necessary for process studies of the hydrological system on ice sheets that currently cannot be achieved from spaceborne observations alone.
Benjamin Joseph Davison, Tom Cowton, Andrew Sole, Finlo Cottier, and Pete Nienow
The Cryosphere, 16, 1181–1196,Short summary
The ocean is an important driver of Greenland glacier retreat. Icebergs influence ocean temperature in the vicinity of glaciers, which will affect glacier retreat rates, but the effect of icebergs on water temperature is poorly understood. In this study, we use a model to show that icebergs cause large changes to water properties next to Greenland's glaciers, which could influence ocean-driven glacier retreat around Greenland.
Taryn E. Black and Ian Joughin
The Cryosphere, 16, 807–824,Short summary
We used satellite images to create a comprehensive record of annual glacier change in northwest Greenland from 1972 through 2021. We found that nearly all glaciers in our study area have retreated and glacier retreat accelerated from around 1996. Comparing these results with climate data, we found that glacier retreat is most sensitive to water runoff and moderately sensitive to ocean temperatures. These can affect glacier fronts in several ways, so no process clearly dominates glacier retreat.
Ioanna Karagali, Magnus Barfod Suhr, Ruth Mottram, Pia Nielsen-Englyst, Gorm Dybkjær, Darren Ghent, and Jacob L. Høyer
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript accepted for TCShort summary
Ice Surface Temperature (IST) products were used to develop the first multi-sensor, gap-free L4 IST product of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) for 2012, when a significant melt event occurred. For the melt season, mean IST was −15 °C to −1 °C and almost the entire GIS experienced at least 1 to 5 melt days. Inclusion of the L4 IST to a surface mass budget (SMB) model, improved model performance during the key onset of the melt season, where biases are typically large.
Katharina M. Holube, Tobias Zolles, and Andreas Born
The Cryosphere, 16, 315–331,Short summary
We simulated the surface mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet in the 21st century by forcing a snow model with the output of many Earth system models and four greenhouse gas emission scenarios. We quantify the contribution to uncertainty in surface mass balance of these two factors and the choice of parameters of the snow model. The results show that the differences between Earth system models are the main source of uncertainty. This effect is localised mostly near the equilibrium line.
David W. Ashmore, Douglas W. F. Mair, Jonathan E. Higham, Stephen Brough, James M. Lea, and Isabel J. Nias
The Cryosphere, 16, 219–236,Short summary
In this paper we explore the use of a transferrable and flexible statistical technique to try and untangle the multiple influences on marine-terminating glacier dynamics, as measured from space. We decompose a satellite-derived ice velocity record into ranked sets of static maps and temporal coefficients. We present evidence that the approach can identify velocity variability mainly driven by changes in terminus position and velocity variation mainly driven by subglacial hydrological processes.
Andy Aschwanden, Timothy C. Bartholomaus, Douglas J. Brinkerhoff, and Martin Truffer
The Cryosphere, 15, 5705–5715,Short summary
Estimating how much ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica will contribute to sea level rise is of critical societal importance. However, our analysis shows that recent efforts are not trustworthy because the models fail at reproducing contemporary ice melt. Here we present a roadmap towards making more credible estimates of ice sheet melt.
Adrien Wehrlé, Martin P. Lüthi, Andrea Walter, Guillaume Jouvet, and Andreas Vieli
The Cryosphere, 15, 5659–5674,Short summary
We developed a novel automated method for the detection and the quantification of ocean waves generated by glacier calving. This method was applied to data recorded with a terrestrial radar interferometer at Eqip Sermia, Greenland. Results show a high calving activity at the glacier front sector ending in deep water linked with more frequent meltwater plumes. This suggests that rising subglacial meltwater plumes strongly affect glacier calving in deep water, but weakly in shallow water.
Joel Harper, Toby Meierbachtol, Neil Humphrey, Jun Saito, and Aidan Stansberry
The Cryosphere, 15, 5409–5421,Short summary
We use surface and borehole measurements to investigate the generation and fate of basal meltwater in the ablation zone of western Greenland. The rate of basal meltwater generation at borehole study sites increases by up to 20 % over the winter period. Accommodation of all basal meltwater by expansion of isolated subglacial cavities is implausible. Other sinks for water do not likely balance basal meltwater generation, implying water evacuation through a connected drainage system in winter.
Andreas Born and Alexander Robinson
The Cryosphere, 15, 4539–4556,Short summary
Ice penetrating radar reflections from the Greenland ice sheet are the best available record of past accumulation and how these layers have been deformed over time by the flow of ice. Direct simulations of this archive hold great promise for improving our models and for uncovering details of ice sheet dynamics that neither models nor data could achieve alone. We present the first three-dimensional ice sheet model that explicitly simulates individual layers of accumulation and how they deform.
Tamara Annina Gerber, Christine Schøtt Hvidberg, Sune Olander Rasmussen, Steven Franke, Giulia Sinnl, Aslak Grinsted, Daniela Jansen, and Dorthe Dahl-Jensen
The Cryosphere, 15, 3655–3679,Short summary
We simulate the ice flow in the onset region of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream to determine the source area and past accumulation rates of ice found in the EastGRIP ice core. This information is required to correct for bias in ice-core records introduced by the upstream flow effects. Our results reveal that the increasing accumulation rate with increasing upstream distance is predominantly responsible for the constant annual layer thicknesses observed in the upper 900 m of the ice core.
Ole Zeising and Angelika Humbert
The Cryosphere, 15, 3119–3128,Short summary
Greenland’s largest ice stream – the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) – extends far into the interior of the ice sheet. Basal meltwater acts as a lubricant for glaciers and sustains sliding. Hence, observations of basal melt rates are of high interest. We performed two time series of precise ground-based radar measurements in the upstream region of NEGIS and found high melt rates of 0.19 ± 0.04 m per year.
Xavier Fettweis, Stefan Hofer, Roland Séférian, Charles Amory, Alison Delhasse, Sébastien Doutreloup, Christoph Kittel, Charlotte Lang, Joris Van Bever, Florent Veillon, and Peter Irvine
The Cryosphere, 15, 3013–3019,Short summary
Without any reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions, the Greenland ice sheet surface mass loss can be brought in line with a medium-mitigation emissions scenario by reducing the solar downward flux at the top of the atmosphere by 1.5 %. In addition to reducing global warming, these solar geoengineering measures also dampen the well-known positive melt–albedo feedback over the ice sheet by 6 %. However, only stronger reductions in solar radiation could maintain a stable ice sheet in 2100.
Devon Dunmire, Alison F. Banwell, Nander Wever, Jan T. M. Lenaerts, and Rajashree Tri Datta
The Cryosphere, 15, 2983–3005,Short summary
Here, we automatically detect buried lakes (meltwater lakes buried below layers of snow) across the Greenland Ice Sheet, providing insight into a poorly studied meltwater feature. For 2018 and 2019, we compare areal extent of buried lakes. We find greater buried lake extent in 2019, especially in northern Greenland, which we attribute to late-summer surface melt and high autumn temperatures. We also provide evidence that buried lakes form via different processes across Greenland.
Tobias Zolles and Andreas Born
The Cryosphere, 15, 2917–2938,Short summary
We investigate the sensitivity of a glacier surface mass and the energy balance model of the Greenland ice sheet for the cold period of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and the present-day climate. The results show that the model sensitivity changes with climate. While for present-day simulations inclusions of sublimation and hoar formation are of minor importance, they cannot be neglected during the LGM. To simulate the surface mass balance over long timescales, a water vapor scheme is necessary.
Paolo Colosio, Marco Tedesco, Roberto Ranzi, and Xavier Fettweis
The Cryosphere, 15, 2623–2646,Short summary
We use a new satellite dataset to study the spatiotemporal evolution of surface melting over Greenland at an enhanced resolution of 3.125 km. Using meteorological data and the MAR model, we observe that a dynamic algorithm can best detect surface melting. We found that the melting season is elongating, the melt extent is increasing and that high-resolution data better describe the spatiotemporal evolution of the melting season, which is crucial to improve estimates of sea level rise.
Christiaan T. van Dalum, Willem Jan van de Berg, and Michiel R. van den Broeke
The Cryosphere, 15, 1823–1844,Short summary
Absorption of solar radiation is often limited to the surface in regional climate models. Therefore, we have implemented a new radiative transfer scheme in the model RACMO2, which allows for internal heating and improves the surface reflectivity. Here, we evaluate its impact on the surface mass and energy budget and (sub)surface temperature, by using observations and the previous model version for the Greenland ice sheet. New results match better with observations and introduce subsurface melt.
Nathan Maier, Florent Gimbert, Fabien Gillet-Chaulet, and Adrien Gilbert
The Cryosphere, 15, 1435–1451,Short summary
In Greenland, ice motion and the surface geometry depend on the friction at the bed. We use satellite measurements and modeling to determine how ice speeds and friction are related across the ice sheet. The relationships indicate that ice flowing over bed bumps sets the friction across most of the ice sheet's on-land regions. This result helps simplify and improve our understanding of how ice motion will change in the future.
Aurélien Quiquet and Christophe Dumas
The Cryosphere, 15, 1015–1030,Short summary
We present here the GRISLI-LSCE contribution to the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 for Greenland. The project aims to quantify the ice sheet contribution to global sea level rise for the next century. We show an important spread in the simulated Greenland ice loss in the future depending on the climate forcing used. Mass loss is primarily driven by atmospheric warming, while oceanic forcing contributes to a relatively smaller uncertainty in our simulations.
Ian E. McDowell, Neil F. Humphrey, Joel T. Harper, and Toby W. Meierbachtol
The Cryosphere, 15, 897–907,Short summary
Ice temperature controls rates of internal deformation and the onset of basal sliding. To identify heat transfer mechanisms and englacial heat sources within Greenland's ablation zone, we examine a 2–3-year continuous temperature record from nine full-depth boreholes. Thermal decay after basal crevasses release heat in the near-basal ice likely produces the observed cooling. Basal crevasses in Greenland can affect the basal ice rheology and indicate a potentially complex basal hydrologic system.
Ingrid Leirvik Olsen, Tom Arne Rydningen, Matthias Forwick, Jan Sverre Laberg, and Katrine Husum
The Cryosphere, 14, 4475–4494,Short summary
We present marine geoscientific data from Store Koldewey Trough, one of the largest glacial troughs offshore NE Greenland, to reconstruct the ice drainage pathways, ice sheet extent and ice stream dynamics of this sector during the last glacial and deglaciation. The complex landform assemblage in the trough reflects a dynamic retreat with several periods of stabilization and readvances, interrupting the deglaciation. Estimates indicate that the ice front locally retreated between 80–400 m/year.
Jonathan M. Gregory, Steven E. George, and Robin S. Smith
The Cryosphere, 14, 4299–4322,Short summary
Melting of the Greenland ice sheet as a consequence of global warming could raise global-mean sea level by up to 7 m. We have studied this using a newly developed computer model. With recent climate maintained, sea level would rise by 0.5–2.5 m over many millennia due to Greenland ice loss: the warmer the climate, the greater the sea level rise. Beyond about 3.5 m it would become partially irreversible. In order to avoid this outcome, anthropogenic climate change must be reversed soon enough.
Xavier Fettweis, Stefan Hofer, Uta Krebs-Kanzow, Charles Amory, Teruo Aoki, Constantijn J. Berends, Andreas Born, Jason E. Box, Alison Delhasse, Koji Fujita, Paul Gierz, Heiko Goelzer, Edward Hanna, Akihiro Hashimoto, Philippe Huybrechts, Marie-Luise Kapsch, Michalea D. King, Christoph Kittel, Charlotte Lang, Peter L. Langen, Jan T. M. Lenaerts, Glen E. Liston, Gerrit Lohmann, Sebastian H. Mernild, Uwe Mikolajewicz, Kameswarrao Modali, Ruth H. Mottram, Masashi Niwano, Brice Noël, Jonathan C. Ryan, Amy Smith, Jan Streffing, Marco Tedesco, Willem Jan van de Berg, Michiel van den Broeke, Roderik S. W. van de Wal, Leo van Kampenhout, David Wilton, Bert Wouters, Florian Ziemen, and Tobias Zolles
The Cryosphere, 14, 3935–3958,Short summary
We evaluated simulated Greenland Ice Sheet surface mass balance from 5 kinds of models. While the most complex (but expensive to compute) models remain the best, the faster/simpler models also compare reliably with observations and have biases of the same order as the regional models. Discrepancies in the trend over 2000–2012, however, suggest that large uncertainties remain in the modelled future SMB changes as they are highly impacted by the meltwater runoff biases over the current climate.
Baptiste Vandecrux, Ruth Mottram, Peter L. Langen, Robert S. Fausto, Martin Olesen, C. Max Stevens, Vincent Verjans, Amber Leeson, Stefan Ligtenberg, Peter Kuipers Munneke, Sergey Marchenko, Ward van Pelt, Colin R. Meyer, Sebastian B. Simonsen, Achim Heilig, Samira Samimi, Shawn Marshall, Horst Machguth, Michael MacFerrin, Masashi Niwano, Olivia Miller, Clifford I. Voss, and Jason E. Box
The Cryosphere, 14, 3785–3810,Short summary
In the vast interior of the Greenland ice sheet, snow accumulates into a thick and porous layer called firn. Each summer, the firn retains part of the meltwater generated at the surface and buffers sea-level rise. In this study, we compare nine firn models traditionally used to quantify this retention at four sites and evaluate their performance against a set of in situ observations. We highlight limitations of certain model designs and give perspectives for future model development.
Christiaan T. van Dalum, Willem Jan van de Berg, Stef Lhermitte, and Michiel R. van den Broeke
The Cryosphere, 14, 3645–3662,Short summary
The reflectivity of sunlight, which is also known as albedo, is often inadequately modeled in regional climate models. Therefore, we have implemented a new snow and ice albedo scheme in the regional climate model RACMO2. In this study, we evaluate a new RACMO2 version for the Greenland ice sheet by using observations and the previous model version. RACMO2 output compares well with observations, and by including new processes we improve the ability of RACMO2 to make future climate projections.
Christine S. Hvidberg, Aslak Grinsted, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Shfaqat Abbas Khan, Anders Kusk, Jonas Kvist Andersen, Niklas Neckel, Anne Solgaard, Nanna B. Karlsson, Helle Astrid Kjær, and Paul Vallelonga
The Cryosphere, 14, 3487–3502,Short summary
The Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) extends around 600 km from its onset in the interior of Greenland to the coast. Several maps of surface velocity and topography in Greenland exist, but accuracy is limited due to the lack of validation data. Here we present results from a 5-year GPS survey in an interior section of NEGIS. We use the data to assess a list of satellite-derived ice velocity and surface elevation products and discuss the implications for the ice stream flow in the area.
Kang Yang, Aleah Sommers, Lauren C. Andrews, Laurence C. Smith, Xin Lu, Xavier Fettweis, and Manchun Li
The Cryosphere, 14, 3349–3365,Short summary
This study compares hourly supraglacial moulin discharge simulations from three surface meltwater routing models. Results show that these models are superior to simply using regional climate model runoff without routing, but different routing models, different-spatial-resolution DEMs, and parameterized seasonal evolution of supraglacial stream and river networks induce significant variability in diurnal moulin discharges and corresponding subglacial effective pressures.
Martin Rückamp, Heiko Goelzer, and Angelika Humbert
The Cryosphere, 14, 3309–3327,Short summary
Estimates of future sea-level contribution from the Greenland ice sheet have a large uncertainty based on different origins. We conduct numerical experiments to test the sensitivity of Greenland ice sheet projections to spatial resolution. Simulations with a higher resolution unveil up to 5 % more sea-level rise compared to coarser resolutions. The sensitivity depends on the magnitude of outlet glacier retreat. When no retreat is enforced, the sensitivity exhibits an inverse behaviour.
Heiko Goelzer, Sophie Nowicki, Anthony Payne, Eric Larour, Helene Seroussi, William H. Lipscomb, Jonathan Gregory, Ayako Abe-Ouchi, Andrew Shepherd, Erika Simon, Cécile Agosta, Patrick Alexander, Andy Aschwanden, Alice Barthel, Reinhard Calov, Christopher Chambers, Youngmin Choi, Joshua Cuzzone, Christophe Dumas, Tamsin Edwards, Denis Felikson, Xavier Fettweis, Nicholas R. Golledge, Ralf Greve, Angelika Humbert, Philippe Huybrechts, Sebastien Le clec'h, Victoria Lee, Gunter Leguy, Chris Little, Daniel P. Lowry, Mathieu Morlighem, Isabel Nias, Aurelien Quiquet, Martin Rückamp, Nicole-Jeanne Schlegel, Donald A. Slater, Robin S. Smith, Fiamma Straneo, Lev Tarasov, Roderik van de Wal, and Michiel van den Broeke
The Cryosphere, 14, 3071–3096,Short summary
In this paper we use a large ensemble of Greenland ice sheet models forced by six different global climate models to project ice sheet changes and sea-level rise contributions over the 21st century. The results for two different greenhouse gas concentration scenarios indicate that the Greenland ice sheet will continue to lose mass until 2100, with contributions to sea-level rise of 90 ± 50 mm and 32 ± 17 mm for the high (RCP8.5) and low (RCP2.6) scenario, respectively.
Jan T. M. Lenaerts, M. Drew Camron, Christopher R. Wyburn-Powell, and Jennifer E. Kay
The Cryosphere, 14, 2253–2265,
Willem Jan van de Berg, Erik van Meijgaard, and Lambertus H. van Ulft
The Cryosphere, 14, 1809–1827,Short summary
In times of increasing computer power, atmospheric models that estimate the surface mass balance of the Greenland can be run with increasing resolution. However, at which resolution is the error no longer determined by the lacking resolution but by model shortcomings? In this manuscript we show that for the majority of the southern part of the Greenland Ice Sheet, our study area, a model resolution of 20 km is sufficient although finer model resolutions are still beneficial.
Rosemary Leone, Joel Harper, Toby Meierbachtol, and Neil Humphrey
The Cryosphere, 14, 1703–1712,Short summary
Horizontal ice flow transports the firn layer of Greenland’s Percolation Zone as it undergoes burial by accumulation. Here we show that the firn density and temperature fields can reflect horizontal advection of the firn column across climate gradients, the magnitude of which varies around the ice sheet. Further, time series of melt features in ice cores from the percolation zone can contain a signature from ice motion that should not be conflated with that from climate change.
Brice Noël, Leonardus van Kampenhout, Willem Jan van de Berg, Jan T. M. Lenaerts, Bert Wouters, and Michiel R. van den Broeke
The Cryosphere, 14, 1425–1435,Short summary
We present a reconstruction of historical (1950–2014) surface mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet using the Community Earth System Model (CESM2; ~111 km) to force a high-resolution regional climate model (RACMO2; ~11 km), which is further refined to 1 km spatial resolution. For the first time, an Earth-system-model-based product, assimilating no observations, can reconstruct realistic historical ice sheet surface mass balance as well as the mass loss acceleration that started in the 1990s.
Marco Tedesco and Xavier Fettweis
The Cryosphere, 14, 1209–1223,Short summary
Unprecedented atmospheric conditions occurring in the summer of 2019 over Greenland promoted new record or close-to-record values of mass loss. Summer of 2019 was characterized by an exceptional persistence of anticyclonic conditions that enhanced melting.
Andrea Walter, Martin P. Lüthi, and Andreas Vieli
The Cryosphere, 14, 1051–1066,Short summary
Glacier calving plays a key role in the dynamic mass loss of ocean-terminating glaciers in Greenland. Source areas and volumes of 900 individual calving events were analysed for size and timing related to environmental forcings. We found that calving volume distribution and style vary along the calving front and are controlled by the water depth and front geometry. We suggest that in deep water both oceanic melt and subaquatic calving contribute substantially to the frontal mass loss.
Alison Delhasse, Christoph Kittel, Charles Amory, Stefan Hofer, Dirk van As, Robert S. Fausto, and Xavier Fettweis
The Cryosphere, 14, 957–965,Short summary
The ERA5 reanalysis of the ECMWF replaced the ERA-Interim in August 2019 and has never been evaluated over Greenland. The aim was to evaluate the performance of ERA5 to simulate the near-surface climate of the Greenland Ice sheet (GrIS) against ERA-Interim and regional climate models with the help of in situ observations from the PROMICE dataset. We also highlighted that polar regional climate models are still a useful tool to study the GrIS climate compared to ERA5.
Andrew J. Tedstone, Joseph M. Cook, Christopher J. Williamson, Stefan Hofer, Jenine McCutcheon, Tristram Irvine-Fynn, Thomas Gribbin, and Martyn Tranter
The Cryosphere, 14, 521–538,Short summary
Albedo describes how much light that hits a surface is reflected without being absorbed. Low-albedo ice surfaces melt more quickly. There are large differences in the albedo of bare-ice areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet. They are caused both by dark glacier algae and by the condition of the underlying ice. Changes occur over centimetres to metres, so satellites do not always detect real albedo changes. Estimates of melt made using satellite measurements therefore tend to be underestimates.
Achim Heilig, Olaf Eisen, Martin Schneebeli, Michael MacFerrin, C. Max Stevens, Baptiste Vandecrux, and Konrad Steffen
The Cryosphere, 14, 385–402,Short summary
We investigate the spatial representativeness of point observations of snow accumulation in SW Greenland. Such analyses have rarely been conducted but are necessary to link regional-scale observations from, e.g., remote-sensing data to firn cores and snow pits. The presented data reveal a low regional variability in density but snow depth can vary significantly. It is necessary to combine pits with spatial snow depth data to increase the regional representativeness of accumulation observations.
Raymond Sellevold, Leonardus van Kampenhout, Jan T. M. Lenaerts, Brice Noël, William H. Lipscomb, and Miren Vizcaino
The Cryosphere, 13, 3193–3208,Short summary
We evaluate a downscaling method to calculate ice sheet surface mass balance with global climate models, despite their coarse resolution. We compare it with high-resolution climate modeling. Despite absence of fine-scale simulation of individual energy and mass contributors, the method provides realistic vertical SMB gradients that can be used in forcing of ice sheet models, e.g., for sea level projections. Also, the climate model simulation is improved with the method implemented interactively.
Stephen J. Livingstone, Andrew J. Sole, Robert D. Storrar, Devin Harrison, Neil Ross, and Jade Bowling
The Cryosphere, 13, 2789–2796,Short summary
We report three new subglacial lakes close to the ice sheet margin of West Greenland. The lakes drained and refilled once each between 2009 and 2017, with two lakes draining in < 1 month during August 2014 and August 2015. The 2015 drainage caused a ~ 1-month down-glacier slowdown in ice flow and flooded the foreland, significantly modifying the braided river and depositing up to 8 m of sediment. These subglacial lakes offer accessible targets for future investigations and exploration.
Aku Riihelä, Michalea D. King, and Kati Anttila
The Cryosphere, 13, 2597–2614,Short summary
We used a 1982–2015 time series of satellite observations to examine changes in surface reflectivity (albedo) of the Greenland Ice Sheet. We found notable decreases in albedo over most of the ice sheet margins in July and August, particularly over the west coast and between 2000 and 2015. The results indicate that significant melt now occurs in areas 50 to 100 m higher up the ice sheet relative to the early 1980s. The albedo decrease is consistent and covarying with modelled ice sheet mass loss.
Ilaria Tabone, Alexander Robinson, Jorge Alvarez-Solas, and Marisa Montoya
The Cryosphere, 13, 1911–1923,Short summary
Recent reconstructions show that the North East Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) retreated away from its present-day position by 20–40 km during MIS-3. Atmospheric and external forcings were proposed as potential causes of this retreat, but the role of the ocean was not considered. Here, using a 3-D ice-sheet model, we suggest that oceanic warming is sufficient to induce a retreat of the NEGIS margin of many tens of kilometres during MIS-3, helping to explain this conundrum.
Baptiste Vandecrux, Michael MacFerrin, Horst Machguth, William T. Colgan, Dirk van As, Achim Heilig, C. Max Stevens, Charalampos Charalampidis, Robert S. Fausto, Elizabeth M. Morris, Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Lora Koenig, Lynn N. Montgomery, Clément Miège, Sebastian B. Simonsen, Thomas Ingeman-Nielsen, and Jason E. Box
The Cryosphere, 13, 845–859,Short summary
The perennial snow, or firn, on the Greenland ice sheet each summer stores part of the meltwater formed at the surface, buffering the ice sheet’s contribution to sea level. We gathered observations of firn air content, indicative of the space available in the firn to retain meltwater, and find that this air content remained stable in cold regions of the firn over the last 65 years but recently decreased significantly in western Greenland.
Marilena Oltmanns, Fiammetta Straneo, and Marco Tedesco
The Cryosphere, 13, 815–825,Short summary
By combining reanalysis, weather station and satellite data, we show that increases in surface melt over Greenland are initiated by large-scale precipitation events year-round. Estimates from a regional climate model suggest that the initiated melting more than doubled between 1988 and 2012, amounting to ~28 % of the overall melt and revealing that, despite the involved mass gain, precipitation events are contributing to the ice sheet's decline.
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The surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet contains thousands of surface lakes. These lakes can deliver water through cracks to the ice sheet base and influence the speed of ice flow. Here we look at instances of lakes draining in the middle of winter using the Sentinel-1 radar satellites. Winter-draining lakes can help us understand the mechanisms for lake drainages throughout the year and can point to winter movement of water that will impact our understanding of ice sheet hydrology.
The surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet contains thousands of surface lakes. These lakes can...