Last updated October 10, 2018

A sensitivity study of annual area change for Greenland ice sheet marine terminating outlet glaciers: 1999–2013

  • States the mass flux from marine terminating glacier outlets from the Greenland ice sheet is a significant mass budget term, yet, glacier calving sensitivity to climate parameters is not well understood
  • Measures the front area changes of 42 marine terminating Greenland outlet glaciers annually from 1999 to 2013 using optical satellite imagery
  • Finds that 35 glaciers retreated, while seven remained stable
  • Finds the average front position change was −240 m a−1 and the total rate of front area change was −114 km2 a−1
  • Compares the yearly average area changes of all measured glaciers with interannual variations in sea surface temperature (SST), sea-ice concentration (SIC), surface melt, Northern Hemisphere (NH) surface air temperatures and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index
  • Finds:
    • (1) northwestern glaciers area change have a significant correlation with surface melt and NH land temperature variations;
    • (2) southeastern glaciers have a significant correlation with local SST, SIC and NH temperatures; and
    • (3) southwestern glaciers area change correlate significantly with local SST and NAO index. We conclude that a climate sensitivity signal emerges considering a population of glaciers
  • Finds a significant correlation between the date of minimum extent and glacier latitude