A 100-year record of changes in water renewal rate in Sermilik Fjord and its influence on calving of Helheim Glacier, Southeast Greenland

Camilla S. Andresen, Sabine Schmidt, Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz, Fiammetta Straneo, Aleksandra Grycel, Christian H. Hass, Kurt Henrik Kjær, Niels Nørgaard-Pedersen, Laurence M. Dyke, Jesper Olsen, Antoon Kuijpers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Here we present a 100 year long proxy record for the renewal rate of the subsurface ocean waters in Sermilik Fjord at the edge of Helheim Glacier, based on investigations of two sediment cores (ER11-24 and ER11-25) obtained from the head of the fjord. By calculating the mean sortable silt (SS-) in current-sorted melt water plume sediments we find that episodes of increased water renewal rates lasting 3-5 years coincide with a positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index. This is not surprising as low pressure systems and northeasterly storms are observed more frequently along the east coast of Greenland during positive NAO years as a result of the northward shift in the North Atlantic storm track. Previous studies of sediment cores obtained from the mid-region of the fjord showed that Helheim Glacier destabilization coincides with a negative NAO index. Therefore we conclude that inter-annual variability in storm-induced flushing of Sermilik Fjord and thus the water renewal rate towards the glacier margin is not the controlling factor for inter-annual variability in Helheim Glacier destabilization. Such knowledge may have implications on predictive model studies of ice-ocean interactions and glacier behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Volume85
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2014

Keywords

  • Fjord circulation
  • Glacial plume sedimentation
  • Ice-ocean interactions
  • North Atlantic oscillation
  • Outlet glaciers
  • SE Greenland

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate

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