Controls on short-term variations in Greenland glacier dynamics

A.v. Sundal, A. Shepherd, M. Van Den Broeke, J. Van Angelen, N. Gourmelen, J. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Short-term ice-dynamical processes at Greenland’s Jakobshavn and Kangerdlugssuaq glaciers were studied using a 3day time series of synthetic aperture radar data acquired during the 2011European Remote-sensing Satellite-2 (ERS-2) 3day repeat campaign together with modelled meteorological parameters. The time series spans the period March–July 2011 and captures the first$30% of the summer melting season. In both study areas, we observe velocity fluctuations at the lower$10km of the glacier. At Jakobshavn Isbræ, where our dataset covers the first part of the seasonal calving-front retreat, we identify ten calving episodes, with a mean calving-front area loss of 1.29Æ0.4km2.Significant glacier speed-up was observed in the near-terminus area following all calving episodes. We identify changes in calving-front geometry as the dominant control on velocity fluctuations on both glaciers, apart from a <15% early-summer speed-up at Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier during a period of calving-front advance, which we attribute to enhanced surface melt-induced basal lubrication. Our3day velocity maps show new spatial characteristics of the ice melange flow variability in the Jakobshavn and Kangerdlugssuaq fjord systems, which are primarily controlled by calving-front dynamics and fjord geometry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-892
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Glaciology
Issue number217
Publication statusPublished - 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Controls on short-term variations in Greenland glacier dynamics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this