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  • McMillan_et_al-2016-Geophysical_Research_Letters

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A high resolution record of Greenland mass balance

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  • Malcolm McMillan
  • Amber Alexandra Leeson
  • Andrew Shepherd
  • Kate Briggs
  • Thomas W. K. Armitage
  • Anna Hogg
  • Peter Kuipers Munneke
  • Michiel Van Den Broeke
  • Noël Brice
  • Willem Jan van de Berg
  • Stefan Ligtenberg
  • Martin Horwath
  • Andreas Groh
  • Alan Muir
  • Lin Gilbert
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>16/07/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Geophysical Research Letters
Issue number13
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)7002-7010
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date16/06/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English


We map recent Greenland Ice Sheet elevation change at high spatial (5-km) and temporal (monthly) resolution using CryoSat-2 altimetry. After correcting for the impact of changing snowpack properties associated with unprecedented surface melting in 2012, we find good agreement (3 cm/yr bias) with airborne measurements. With the aid of regional climate and firn modelling, we compute high spatial and temporal resolution records of Greenland mass evolution, which correlate (R = 0.96) with monthly satellite gravimetry, and reveal glacier dynamic imbalance. During 2011-2014, Greenland mass loss averaged 269 ± 51 Gt/yr. Atmospherically-driven losses were widespread, with surface melt variability driving large fluctuations in the annual mass deficit. Terminus regions of five dynamically-thinning glaciers, which constitute less than 1% of Greenland's area, contributed more than 12% of the net ice loss. This high-resolution record demonstrates that mass deficits extending over small spatial and temporal scales have made a relatively large contribution to recent ice sheet imbalance.

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©2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.