GPS based surface displacements – a proxy for discharge and sediment transport from the Greenland Ice Sheet

Bent Hasholt, Shfaqat Abbas Khan, Andreas Bech Mikkelsen

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The elastic respond of the Earth’s surface to mass changes has been measured with Global Positioning System (GPS). Mass loss as accumulated runoff and sediment transport from a 10000 km2 segment of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) correlated very well (R2=0.83) with GPS measured uplift. Accumulated winter precipitation correlated fairly well with surface depression (R2=0.69). The relationships are based on seven years of runoff and sediment transport observations from the Watson River (2007–2013), winter precipitation from Kangerlussuaq Airport and GPS observations at Kellyville. GPS recordings of surface subsidence and uplift from 1996–2013 are used to calculate 18 years time series of annual runoff, sediment and solute transport and 10 winter precipitation. Runoff and related transport of sediment and solutes increase over the period, while winter precipitation (land depression) tends to decrease. Based on the entire GPS record (1996–2013), it is shown that until 2005–2006 the mass balance of this segment of the GrIS was rather stable – since then there has been an increasing loss of mass, culminating in 2012.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Cryosphere Discussions
Pages (from-to)3829–3850
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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