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Influence of sea ice decline, atmospheric warming, and glacier width on marine-terminating outlet glacier behavior in northwest Greenland at seasonal to interannual timescales


Carr, J Rachel; Vieli, Andreas; Stokes, Chris R (2013). Influence of sea ice decline, atmospheric warming, and glacier width on marine-terminating outlet glacier behavior in northwest Greenland at seasonal to interannual timescales. Journal of Geophysical Research, 118(3):1210-1226.

Abstract

Discharge from marine-terminating outlet glaciers represents a key component of the Greenland Ice Sheet mass budget and observations suggest that mass loss from northwest Greenland has recently accelerated. Despite this, the factors controlling outlet glacier dynamics within this region have been comparatively poorly studied. Here we use remotely sensed data to investigate the influence of atmospheric, oceanic, and glacier-specific controls on the frontal position of Alison Glacier (AG), northwest Greenland, and nine surrounding outlet glaciers. AG retreated by 9.7 km between 2001 and 2005, following at least 25 years of minimal change. Results suggest that sea ice and air temperatures influence glacier frontal position at seasonal and interannual timescales. However, the response of individual outlet glaciers to forcing was strongly modified by factors specific to each glacier, specifically variations in fjord width and terminus type. Overall, our results underscore the need to consider these factors in order to interpret recent rapid changes and predict the dynamic response of marine-terminating outlet glaciers to atmospheric and oceanic forcing.

Abstract

Discharge from marine-terminating outlet glaciers represents a key component of the Greenland Ice Sheet mass budget and observations suggest that mass loss from northwest Greenland has recently accelerated. Despite this, the factors controlling outlet glacier dynamics within this region have been comparatively poorly studied. Here we use remotely sensed data to investigate the influence of atmospheric, oceanic, and glacier-specific controls on the frontal position of Alison Glacier (AG), northwest Greenland, and nine surrounding outlet glaciers. AG retreated by 9.7 km between 2001 and 2005, following at least 25 years of minimal change. Results suggest that sea ice and air temperatures influence glacier frontal position at seasonal and interannual timescales. However, the response of individual outlet glaciers to forcing was strongly modified by factors specific to each glacier, specifically variations in fjord width and terminus type. Overall, our results underscore the need to consider these factors in order to interpret recent rapid changes and predict the dynamic response of marine-terminating outlet glaciers to atmospheric and oceanic forcing.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:13 Nov 2013 15:53
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 23:38
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
ISSN:0148-0227
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/jgrf.20088

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