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Initial in situ measurements of perennial meltwater storage in the Greenland firn aquifer



[1] A perennial storage of water in a firn aquifer was discovered in southeast Greenland in 2011. We present the first in situ measurements of the aquifer, including densities and temperatures. Water was present at depths between ~12 and 37 m and amounted to 18.7 ± 0.9 kg in the extracted core. The water filled the firn to capacity at ~35 m. Measurements show the aquifer temperature remained at the melting point, representing a large heat reservoir within the firn. Using model results of liquid water extent and aquifer surface depth from radar measurements, we extend our in situ measurements to the Greenland ice sheet. The estimated water volume is 140 ± 20 Gt, representing ~0.4 mm of sea level rise (SLR). It is unknown if the aquifer temporary buffers SLR or contributes to SLR through drainage and/or ice dynamics.

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