Basal stress controls ice-flow variability during a surge cycle of Hagen Bræ, Greenland

Øyvind A. Winton*, Sebastian B. Simonsen, Anne M. Solgaard, Robert McNabb, Nanna B. Karlsson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    15 Downloads (Pure)


    Basal conditions play an essential role in the dynamics of outlet glaciers, but direct observations at the bed of glaciers are challenging to obtain. Instead, inverse methods can be used to infer basal parameters from surface observations. Here, we use a simple ice-flow model as a forward model in an inversion scheme to retrieve the spatio-temporally variable basal stress parameter for Hagen Bræ, North Greenland, from 1990 to 2020. Hagen Bræ is a surge-type glacier with up to an order of magnitude variability of winter velocities near the grounding line. We find that downstream changes in the basal stress parameter can explain most of the variation of flow velocity, and we further identify a region of high resistance ∼20-40 km from the grounding line. We hypothesise that this region of high resistance plays an important role in controlling glacier discharge.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Glaciology
    Issue number269
    Pages (from-to)503–517
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


    • Arctic glaciology
    • Glacier flow
    • Glacier modelling
    • Glacier surges
    • Ice velocity


    Dive into the research topics of 'Basal stress controls ice-flow variability during a surge cycle of Hagen Bræ, Greenland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this