Articles | Volume 16, issue 3
Research article
10 Mar 2022
Research article |  | 10 Mar 2022

Multi-decadal retreat of marine-terminating outlet glaciers in northwest and central-west Greenland

Taryn E. Black and Ian Joughin

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Cited articles

Amundson, J. M., Fahnestock, M., Truffer, M., Brown, J., Lüthi, M. P., and Motyka, R. J.: Ice mélange dynamics and implications for terminus stability, Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth, 115, F01005,, 2010. 
Benn, D. I., Warren, C. R., and Mottram, R. H.: Calving processes and the dynamics of calving glaciers, Earth-Sci. Rev., 82, 143–179,, 2007. 
Bjørk, A. A., Kjær, K. H., Korsgaard, N. J., Khan, S. A., Kjeldsen, K. K., Andresen, C. S., Box, J. E., Larsen, N. K., and Funder, S.: An aerial view of 80 years of climate-related glacier fluctuations in southeast Greenland, Nat. Geosci., 5, 427–432,, 2012. 
Black, T.: northwest_decadal_2021, Zenodo [code],, 2022. 
Bunce, C., Carr, J. R., Nienow, P. W., Ross, N., and Killick, R.: Ice front change of marine-terminating outlet glaciers in northwest and southeast Greenland during the 21st century, J. Glaciol., 64, 1–13,, 2018. 
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.