Seasonal variations in iceberg freshwater flux in Sermilik Fjord, southeast Greenland from Sentinel-2 imagery

Alexis Moyer, D. Sutherland, Peter Nienow, Andrew Sole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Iceberg discharge is estimated to account for up to 50% of the freshwater flux delivered to glacial fjords. The amount, timing, and location of iceberg melting impacts fjord‐water circulation and heat budget, with implications for glacier dynamics, nutrient cycling, and fjord productivity. We use Sentinel‐2 imagery to examine seasonal variations in freshwater flux from open‐water icebergs in Sermilik Fjord, Greenland during summer and fall of 2017–2018. Using iceberg velocities derived from visual‐tracking and changes in total iceberg volume with distance down‐fjord from Helheim Glacier, we estimate maximum average two‐month full‐fjord iceberg‐derived freshwater fluxes of ~1,060 ± 615, 1,270 ± 735, 1,200 ± 700, 3,410 ± 1,975, and 1,150 ± 670 m3/s for May–June, June–July, July–August, August–September, and September–November, respectively. Fluxes decrease with distance down‐fjord, and on average, 86–91% of iceberg volume is lost before reaching the fjord mouth. This method provides a simple, invaluable tool for monitoring seasonal and interannual iceberg freshwater fluxes across a range of Greenlandic fjords.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume46
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

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