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Keywords:

  • Greenland;
  • ice sheet;
  • mass balance

[1] Repeat satellite laser altimetry is critical for observing the rapidly changing mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet. However, sparse sampling and high surface slopes over rapidly thinning, coastal outlet glaciers may result in underestimation of mass loss. Here we supplement ICESat-derived surface elevation changes with differenced ASTER digital elevation models of outlet glaciers in southeastern Greenland, the region with the largest concentrated change in outlet glacier mass loss. We estimate a 2002–2005 regional volume-loss rate of 108 km3/yr. Our results are consistent with drainage-scale GRACE and mass-budget estimates when differences in observation periods are taken into account. The two largest glaciers, Kangerdlugssuaq and Helheim, account for only 28% of the mass loss, illustrating the combined importance of smaller glaciers and the need for complete observational coverage. Additionally, we find that rapid, concentrated thinning within the outlets represents a small contribution to the total volume change compared to dispersed inland thinning.