Brief Communication "Expansion of meltwater lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet" 1School of Earth Sciences and Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
01 Feb 2013
2Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Received: 04 October 2012 – Published in The Cryosphere Discuss.: 16 October 2012 Abstract. Forty years of satellite imagery reveal that meltwater lakes on the margin
of the Greenland Ice Sheet have expanded substantially inland to higher
elevations with warming. These lakes are important because they provide a
mechanism for bringing water to the ice bed, causing sliding. Inland
expansion of lakes could accelerate ice flow by bringing water to previously
frozen bed, potentially increasing future rates of mass loss. Increasing
lake elevations closely follow the rise of the mass balance equilibrium line
over much of the ice sheet, suggesting no physical limit on lake expansion.
Data are not yet available to detect a corresponding change in ice flow, and
the potential effects of lake expansion on ice sheet dynamics are not
included in ice sheet models.
Revised: 07 January 2013 – Accepted: 10 January 2013 – Published: 01 February 2013
Citation: Howat, I. M., de la Peña, S., van Angelen, J. H., Lenaerts, J. T. M., and van den Broeke, M. R.: Brief Communication "Expansion of meltwater lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet", The Cryosphere, 7, 201-204, doi:10.5194/tc-7-201-2013, 2013.