Supraglacial forcing of subglacial drainage in the ablation zone of the Greenland ice sheet

Ian Bartholomew, Peter Nienow, Andrew Sole, Douglas Mair, Thomas Cowton, Steven Palmer, Jemma Wadham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We measure hydrological parameters in meltwater draining from an outlet glacier in west Greenland to investigate seasonal changes in the structure and behaviour of the hydrological system of a large catchment in the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS). Our data reveal seasonal upglacier expansion and increase in hydraulic efficiency of the subglacial drainage system, across a catchment >600 km(2), to distances >50 km from the ice-sheet margin. This expansion occurs episodically in response to the drainage of surface meltwaters into a hitherto inefficient subglacial drainage system as new input locations become active progressively further upglacier; this system is similar to Alpine glaciers. These observations provide the first synopsis of seasonal hydrological behaviour in the ablation zone of the GrIS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL08502
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume38
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2011

Keywords

  • SEASONAL EVOLUTION
  • BASAL SEDIMENT
  • SURFACE MELT
  • GLACIER
  • SYSTEM
  • ACCELERATION
  • CONFIGURATION
  • LAKES

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