Extensive winter subglacial water storage beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet
Geophysical Research Letters
American Geophysical Union (AGU) / Wiley
© 2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Surface meltwater that reaches the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet exerts a fundamental impact on ice flow, but observations of catchment-wide movement and distribution of subglacial water remain limited. Using radar-sounding data from two seasons, we identify the seasonal distribution of subglacial water in western Greenland. Our analysis provides evidence of widespread subglacial water storage beneath Greenland in the wintertime. The winter storage is located primarily on bedrock ridges with higher bed elevations in excess of 200 m. During the melt season water moves to the subglacial troughs. This inverse relationship with topography indicates that the material properties of the glacier bed strongly influence subglacial drainage development. Both the spatial variations in bed properties and the initial state of the subglacial hydrology system at the start of the melt season lead to differing glacier dynamical responses to surface melting across the Greenland Ice Sheet.
W.C. is a recipient of the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship. D.M.S. is supported by a grant from the NASA Cryospheric Sciences Program. H.S. is supported by grants from the NASA Cryospheric Sciences and Sea Level Rise Programs. T.T.C and R.E.B are supported by grants from National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA Cryospheric Sciences. S.P. is supported by the Natural Environment Research Council’s Centre for Polar Observation
This is the final version of the article. Available from AGU via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 43 (24), pp. 12,484–12,492