Supraglacial streamflow and meteorological drivers from southwest Greenland

Rohi Muthyala, Åsa K. Rennermalm, Sasha Z. Leidman, Matthew G. Cooper, Sarah W. Cooley, Laurence C. Smith, Dirk van As

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review

6 Citationer (Scopus)


Greenland ice sheet surface runoff is drained through supraglacial stream networks. This evacuation influences surface mass balance as well as ice dynamics. However, in situ observations of meltwater discharge through these stream networks are rare. In this study, we present 46 discrete discharge measurements and continuous water level measurements for 62gd spanning the majority of of the melt season (13 June to 13 August) in 2016 for a 0.6gkm2 supraglacial stream catchment in southwest Greenland. The result is an unprecedentedly long record of supraglacial discharge that captures both diurnal variability and changes over the melt season. A comparison of surface energy fluxes to stream discharge reveals shortwave radiation as the primary driver of melting. However, during high-melt episodes, the contribution of shortwave radiation to melt energy is reduced by g1/440gg% (from 1.13 to 0.73 proportion). Instead, the relative contribution of longwave radiation, sensible heat fluxes, and latent heat fluxes to overall melt increases by g1/424g%, 6g%, and 10g% (proportion increased from-0.32 to-0.08, 0.28 to 0.34, and-0.04 to 0.06) respectively. Our data also identify that the timing of daily maximum discharge during clear-sky days shifts from 16:00 local time (i.e., 2gh 45gmin after solar noon) in late June to 14:00 in late July and then rapidly returns to 16:00 in early August. The change in the timing of daily maximum discharge could be attributed to the expansion and contraction of the stream network, caused by skin temperatures that likely fell below freezing at night. The abrupt shift, in early August, in the timing of daily maximum discharge coincides with a drop in air temperature, a drop in the amount of water temporarily stored in weathering crust, and a decreasing covariance between stream velocity and discharge. Further work is needed to investigate if these results can be transferable to larger catchments and uncover if rapid shifts in the timing of peak discharge are widespread across Greenland supraglacial streams and thus have an impact on meltwater delivery to the subglacial system and ice dynamics.

Sider (fra-til)2245-2263
Antal sider19
Udgave nummer6
StatusUdgivet - 14 jun. 2022


  • Programområde 5: Natur og klima


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