Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
Research article
11 Jun 2015
Research article |  | 11 Jun 2015

Changes in the firn structure of the western Greenland Ice Sheet caused by recent warming

S. de la Peña, I. M. Howat, P. W. Nienow, M. R. van den Broeke, E. Mosley-Thompson, S. F. Price, D. Mair, B. Noël, and A. J. Sole

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Revised manuscript accepted for TC
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Cited articles

Abdalati, W., Bales, R., and Thomas, R.: Program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment. An improved understanding of the Greenland ice sheet, Arct. Res., 12, 38–54, 1988.
Bales, R. C., McConnell, J. R., Mosley-Thompson, E., and Csatho, B.: Accumulation over the Greenland Ice Sheet from historical and recent records, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 33813–33825,, 2001.
Banwell, A. F., Arnold, N. S., Willis, I. C., Tedesco, M., and Ahlstrøm, A. P.: Modeling supraglacial water routing and lake filling on the Greenland Ice Sheet, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth Surf., 117, F04012,, 2012.
Bennartz, R., Shupe, M. D., Turner, D. D., Walden, V. P., Steffen, K., Cox, C. J., Kulie, M. S., Miller, N. B., and Pettersen, C.: July 2012 Greenland melt extent enhanced by low-level liquid clouds, Nature, 496, 83–86,, 2013.
Benson, C.: Stratigraphic studies of the snow and firn of the Greenland ice sheet, Res. Rep., 70, U.S. Army Snow Ice and Permafrost Res. Estab, 1962.
Short summary
This paper presents an assessment of changes in the near-surface structure of the accumulation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet caused by an increase of melt at higher elevations in the last decade, especially during the unusually warm years of 2010 and 2012. The increase in melt and firn densification complicate the interpretation of changes in the ice volume, and the observed increase in firn ice content may reduce the important meltwater buffering capacity of the Greenland Ice Sheet.