Dynamic ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet driven by sustained glacier retreat

Michalea D. King, Ian M. Howat, Salvatore G. Candela, Myoung J. Noh, Seongsu Jeong, Brice P. Y. Noël, Michiel R. van den Broeke, Bert Wouters, Adelaide Negrete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The Greenland Ice Sheet is losing mass at accelerated rates in the 21st century, making it the largest single contributor to rising sea levels. Faster flow of outlet glaciers has substantially contributed to this loss, with the cause of speedup, and potential for future change, uncertain. Here we combine more than three decades of remotely sensed observational products of outlet glacier velocity, elevation, and front position changes over the full ice sheet. We compare decadal variability in discharge and calving front position and find that increased glacier discharge was due almost entirely to the retreat of glacier fronts, rather than inland ice sheet processes, with a remarkably consistent speedup of 4–5% per km of retreat across the ice sheet. We show that widespread retreat between 2000 and 2005 resulted in a step-increase in discharge and a switch to a new dynamic state of sustained mass loss that would persist even under a decline in surface melt.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalCommunications Earth & Environment
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamic ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet driven by sustained glacier retreat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this