Iceberg meltwater fluxes dominate the freshwater budget in Greenland's iceberg-congested glacial fjords
Hamilton, Gordon S.
Sutherland, David A.
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Freshwater fluxes from the Greenland ice sheet have increased over the last two decades due to increases in liquid (i.e., surface and submarine meltwater) and solid ice (i.e., iceberg) fluxes. To predict potential ice sheet-ocean-climate feedbacks, we must know the partitioning of freshwater fluxes from Greenland, including the conversion of icebergs to liquid (i.e., meltwater) fluxes within glacial fjords. Here we use repeat ~0.5 m-resolution satellite images from two major fjords to provide the first observation-based estimates of the meltwater flux from the dense matrix of floating ice called mélange. We find that because of its expansive submerged area (>100 km2) and rapid melt rate (~0.1–0.8 m d−1), the ice mélange meltwater flux can exceed that from glacier surface and submarine melting. Our findings suggest that iceberg melt within the fjords must be taken into account in studies of glacial fjord circulation and the impact of Greenland melt on the ocean.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 43 (2016): 11,287–11,294, doi:10.1002/2016GL070718.
Suggested CitationGeophysical Research Letters 43 (2016): 11,287–11,294
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Sutherland, David A.; Roth, George E.; Hamilton, Gordon S.; Mernild, Sebastian H.; Stearns, Leigh A.; Straneo, Fiamma (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-12-11)Large, deep-keeled icebergs are ubiquitous in Greenland's outlet glacial fjords. Here we use the movement of these icebergs to quantify flow variability in Sermilik Fjord, southeast Greenland, from the ice mélange through ...
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