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Winter motion mediates dynamic response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to warmer summers


Sole, A and Nienow, P and Bartholomew, I and Mair, D and Cowton, T and Tedstone, A and King, MA, Winter motion mediates dynamic response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to warmer summers, Geophysical Research Letters, 40, (15) pp. 3940-3944. ISSN 0094-8276 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1002/grl.50764


We present ice velocities from a land-terminating transect extending >115 km into the western Greenland Ice Sheet during three contrasting melt years (2009-2011) to determine whether enhanced melting accelerates dynamic mass loss. We find no significant correlation between surface melt and annual ice flow. There is however a positive correlation between melt and summer ice displacement, but a negative correlation with winter displacement. This response is consistent with hydro-dynamic coupling; enhanced summer ice flow results from longer periods of increasing surface melting and greater duration ice surface to bed connections, while reduced winter motion is explicable by drainage of high basal water pressure regions by larger more extensive subglacial channels. Despite mean interannual surface melt variability of up to 70%, mean annual ice velocities changed by <7.5%. Increased summer melting thereby preconditions the ice-bed interface for reduced winter motion resulting in limited dynamic sensitivity to interannual variations in surface melting.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Greenland, ice sheet, sea level
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geophysics
Research Field:Geodesy
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Global effects of climate change (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:King, MA (Professor Matt King)
ID Code:88538
Year Published:2013
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT110100207)
Web of Science® Times Cited:91
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2014-02-06
Last Modified:2014-10-16

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