Supraglacial forcing of subglacial drainage in the ablation zone of the Greenland ice sheet

Authors


Abstract

[1] We measure hydrological parameters in meltwater draining from an outlet glacier in west Greenland to investigate seasonal changes in the structure and behaviour of the hydrological system of a large catchment in the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS). Our data reveal seasonal upglacier expansion and increase in hydraulic efficiency of the subglacial drainage system, across a catchment >600 km2, to distances >50 km from the ice-sheet margin. This expansion occurs episodically in response to the drainage of surface meltwaters into a hitherto inefficient subglacial drainage system as new input locations become active progressively further upglacier; this system is similar to Alpine glaciers. These observations provide the first synopsis of seasonal hydrological behaviour in the ablation zone of the GrIS.

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