Fluctuations of sediment accumulation rates in front of an Arctic delta in Greenland

Jørn Bjarke Torp Pedersen, Aart Kroon, Bjarne Holm Jakobsen, Sebastian H. Mernild, Thorbjørn Joest Andersen, Camilla Snowman Andresen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An automated layer counting technique is developed to estimate the chronology of a marine sediment core and this technique is validated with Pb210 chronology. The marine sediment core was sampled in front of the delta of Mittivakkat Glacier meltwater river in the Sermilik Fjord, SE Greenland, and is a proxy of the sediment delivery from a glacial drainage basin to a fjord. The estimated time series was based on automatic lamination detection (varves) on a line scan of the core using gray scale intensities, and covered the last two centuries. The estimated time series of sediment accumulation rates was coupled to modelled runoff from the Mittivakkat Glacier and compared with local climatic parameters (air temperature and precipitation) and with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index. Maxima in the sediment accumulation rate at the bottom of the side-fjord, about 1 km from the delta, mostly depended on glacier ablation and consequently on changes in river runoff, which were initiated by the air temperature. This was especially the case during transition from colder periods towards warmer, where short-lived maxima in sediment accumulation rates were followed by lower rates, even though the temperature remained high. This suggested a quite rapid glacial response to changes in climatic forcing, and/or a hysteresis effect, where sediment stored in the glacier/valley system was evacuated soon after a temperature dependent increase in discharge. The air temperature was in turn controlled by the AMO index.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)860-868
Number of pages9
JournalThe Holocene
Volume23
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • automatic varve-detection
  • fluvial runoff
  • glacial mass balance
  • Greenland
  • sediment accumulation rate
  • Sermilik Fjord

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate

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