13 Jan 2023
 | 13 Jan 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Improved Monitoring of Subglacial Lake Activity in Greenland

Louise Sandberg Sørensen, Rasmus Bahbah, Sebastian B. Simonsen, Natalia Havelund Andersen, Jade Bowling, Noel Gourmelen, Alex Horton, Nanna B. Karlsson, Amber Leeson, Jennifer Maddalena, Malcolm McMillan, Anne Munck Solgaard, and Birgit Wessel

Abstract. Subglacial lakes form beneath ice sheets and ice caps if water is available, and if bedrock and surface topography are able to retain the water. On a regional scale, the lakes modulate the timing and rate of freshwater flow through the subglacial system to the ocean by acting as reservoirs. More than one hundred hydrologically active subglacial lakes, that drain and recharge periodically, have been documented under the Antarctic ice sheet, while only a handful of active lakes have been identified in Greenland. The small size of the Greenlandic subglacial lakes puts additional demands on mapping capabilitie aiming to resolve the evolving surface topography in sufficient detail to record their temporal behavior. Here, we explore the potential for combining data from CryoSat-2, TanDEM-X, and ArcticDEM to document the evolution of four active subglacial lake sites in Greenland. The inclusion of the new data sources provides important information on lake activity, documenting that the ice surface collapse basin on Flade Isblink ice cap was 50 % (30 meters) deeper than previously recorded. We also present evidence of a new active subglacial lake in Southwest Greenland, which shows signs of being hydrologically connected to another subglacial lake in that region. These findings show how improving the measurement capabilities of subglacial lakes, improves our current understanding and knowledge of the subglacial water system and its connection to surface hydrology.

Louise Sandberg Sørensen et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2022-263', Anonymous Referee #1, 21 Feb 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2022-263', Anonymous Referee #2, 16 Mar 2023

Louise Sandberg Sørensen et al.

Louise Sandberg Sørensen et al.


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Short summary
Under the right topographic and hydrological conditions, lakes may form beneath the large ice sheets. Some of these subglacial lakes are active; meaning that they periodically drain and refill. When a subglacial lake drains rapidly it may cause the ice surface above to collapse, and here we investigate how to improve the monitoring of active subglacial lakes in Greenland by monitoring how their associated collapse basins change over time.