Ice-dammed lake drainage in west Greenland: Drainage pattern and implications on ice flow and bedrock motion

Kristian Kjellerup Kjeldsen*, Shfaqat Abbas Khan, Anders Bjørk, Karina Nielsen, Jeremie Mouginot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Ice-dammed lakes drain frequently in Greenland, but the impacts of these events differ between sites. Here we study the quasi-cyclic behavior of the ~40 km2 Lake Tininnilik in west Greenland and its impact on ice flow and crustal deformation. Data reveal rapid drainage of 1.83 ± 0.17 km3 of water in less than 7 days in 2010, leading to a speedup of the damming glacier, and an instantaneous modeled elastic bedrock uplift of 18.6 ± 0.1 mm confirmed by an independent lakeside GPS record. Since ice-dammed lakes are common on Greenland, our results highlight the importance of including other sources of surface loading in addition to ice mass change, when assessing glacial isostatic adjustment or elastic rebound using geodetic data. Moreover, the results illustrates a linkage between subglacial discharge and ice surface velocity, important for assessing ice flux, and thus mass balance, in a future warming climate.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Pages (from-to)7320-7327
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Bedrock motion
  • Drainage pattern
  • Greenland
  • Ice flow
  • Ice-dammed lake

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