Evolution of drainage system morphology at a land-terminating Greenlandic outlet glacier
Article first published online: 25 JAN 2013
©2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
Volume 118, Issue 1, pages 29–41, March 2013
How to Cite
2013), Evolution of drainage system morphology at a land-terminating Greenlandic outlet glacier, J. Geophys. Res. Earth Surf., 118, 29–41, doi:10.1029/2012JF002540., , , , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 24 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 25 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 22 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Received: 28 JUN 2012
- Glacial hydrology;
- Greenland Ice Sheet;
- dye tracing
 The influence of meltwater on the dynamics and geomorphic impact of the Greenland Ice Sheet is strongly controlled by the morphology of the ice sheet's drainage system. However, this system and its evolution through the melt season remain poorly understood. Here we present the results of an intensive programme of dye tracing experiments undertaken along the lower 14 km of a land-terminating Greenlandic outlet glacier over a period of four months during the 2010 melt season. These data are interpreted in conjunction with observations of proglacial discharge, englacial water storage, surface melt rates and ice velocity to produce a detailed picture of the changing hydrology of the glacier. Following the onset of melt in the spring, inputs to the drainage system regularly exceed outputs, causing the englacial water level to rise to the ice sheet surface. During this time there is a rapid transition from distributed to channelized drainage in those parts of the drainage system closed by ice deformation over winter. As the melt season progresses, channel efficiency increases and englacial storage and ice velocity decrease. High-velocity events continue to be observed following the channelization of the drainage system however, indicating that hydrological forcing of ice velocity occurs despite the existence of channels during periods when meltwater inputs exceed the capacity of the subglacial drainage system.