Interannual changes of the floating ice shelf of Petermann Gletscher, North Greenland, from 2000 to 2012

TitleInterannual changes of the floating ice shelf of Petermann Gletscher, North Greenland, from 2000 to 2012
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMunchow A., Padman L., Fricker H.A
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Date Published2014/06
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-1430
Accession NumberWOS:000339140300008
Keywordsaccuracy assessment; elevation changes; grounding zone; laser altimetry; outlet glaciers; pine island glacier; Remote sensing; satellite-radar interferometry; sea-level rise; southeast greenland; spatial-resolution

Petermann Gletscher, northwest Greenland, drains 4% of the Greenland ice sheet into Nares Strait. Its floating ice shelf retreated from 81 to 48 km in length during two large calving events in 2010 and 2012. We document changes in the three-dimensional ice-shelf structure from 2000 to 2012, using repeated tracks of airborne laser altimetry and ice radio-echo sounding, ICESat laser altimetry and MODIS visible imagery. The recent ice-shelf velocity, measured by tracking surface features between flights in 2010 and 2011, is similar to 1.25 km a(-1), similar to 15-30% faster than estimates made before 2010. The steady-state along-flow ice divergence represents 6.3 Gt a(-1) mass loss through basal melting (similar to 5 Gt a(-1)) and surface melting and sublimation (similar to 1.0 Gt a(-1)). Airborne laser altimeter data reveal thinning, both along a thin central channel and on the thicker ambient ice shelf. From 2007 to 2010 the ice shelf thinned by similar to 5 m a(-1), which represents a non-steady mass loss of similar to 4.1 Gt a(-1). We suggest that thinning in the basal channels structurally weakened the ice shelf and may have played a role in the recent calving events.

Short TitleJ. Glaciol.
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