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Science. 2008 May 9;320(5877):781-3. doi: 10.1126/science.1153288. Epub 2008 Apr 17.

Seasonal speedup along the western flank of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Author information

  • 1Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Lab, University of Washington, 1013 NE 40th Street, Seattle, WA 98105-6698, USA. ian@apl.washington.edu

Abstract

It has been widely hypothesized that a warmer climate in Greenland would increase the volume of lubricating surface meltwater reaching the ice-bedrock interface, accelerating ice flow and increasing mass loss. We have assembled a data set that provides a synoptic-scale view, spanning ice-sheet to outlet-glacier flow, with which to evaluate this hypothesis. On the ice sheet, these data reveal summer speedups (50 to 100%) consistent with, but somewhat larger than, earlier observations. The relative speedup of outlet glaciers, however, is far smaller (<15%). Furthermore, the dominant seasonal influence on Jakobshavn Isbrae's flow is the calving front's annual advance and retreat. With other effects producing outlet-glacier speedups an order of magnitude larger, seasonal melt's influence on ice flow is likely confined to those regions dominated by ice-sheet flow.

PMID:
18420901
[PubMed]
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