Characteristic depths, fluxes and timescales for Greenland’s tidewater glacier fjords from subglacial discharge‐driven upwelling during summer

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DOI
10.1029/2021gl097081
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Keywords
Greenland Ice Sheet
Fjord
Subglacial discharge
Plume
Tidewater glacier
Freshwater
Abstract
Greenland's glacial fjords are a key bottleneck in the earth system, regulating exchange of heat, freshwater and nutrients between the ice sheet and ocean and hosting societally important fisheries. We combine recent bathymetric, atmospheric, and oceanographic data with a buoyant plume model to show that summer subglacial discharge from 136 tidewater glaciers, amounting to 0.02 Sv of freshwater, drives 0.6–1.6 Sv of upwelling. Bathymetric analysis suggests that this is sufficient to renew most major fjords within a single summer, and that these fjords provide a path to the continental shelf that is deeper than 200 m for two-thirds of the glaciers. Our study provides a first pan-Greenland inventory of tidewater glacier fjords and quantifies regional and ice sheet-wide upwelling fluxes. This analysis provides important context for site-specific studies and is a step toward implementing fjord-scale heat, freshwater and nutrient fluxes in large-scale ice sheet and climate models.
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© The Author(s), 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Slater, D., Carroll, D., Oliver, H., Hopwood, M., Straneo, F., Wood, M., Willis, J., & Morlighem, M. Characteristic depths, fluxes and timescales for Greenland’s tidewater glacier fjords from subglacial discharge‐driven upwelling during summer. Geophysical Research Letters, 49(10),(2022): e2021GL097081, https://doi.org/10.1029/2021gl097081.
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Slater, D., Carroll, D., Oliver, H., Hopwood, M., Straneo, F., Wood, M., Willis, J., & Morlighem, M. (2022). Characteristic depths, fluxes and timescales for Greenland’s tidewater glacier fjords from subglacial discharge‐driven upwelling during summer. Geophysical Research Letters, 49(10), e2021GL097081.
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