Resolving seasonal ice velocity of 45 Greenlandic glaciers with very high temporal details

Saurabh Vijay, Shfaqat Abbas Khan, Anders Kusk, Anne M. Solgaard, Twila Moon, Anders Anker Bjørk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Seasonal glacier ice velocities are important for understanding controlling mechanisms of ice flow. For many Greenlandic glaciers, however, these measurements are limited by low temporal resolution. We present seasonal ice velocity changes, melt season onset and extent, and ice front positions for 45 Greenlandic glaciers using 2015–2017 Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar data. Seasonal velocity fluctuations of roughly half of the glaciers appear to be primarily controlled by surface melt-induced changes in the subglacial hydrology. This includes (1) glaciers that speed up with the onset of surface melt and (2) glaciers with comparable late winter and early melt season velocities that show significant slowdown during most of the melt season and speedup during winter. In contrast, less than a quarter of the study glaciers show strong correspondence between seasonal ice speed and terminus changes. Our results pinpoint seasonal variations across Greenland, highlighting the variable influence of meltwater on year-round ice velocities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1485-1495
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2019


  • Greenland
  • marine-terminating glacier
  • seasonal ice velocity
  • Sentinel-1
  • subglacial hydrology
  • surface meltwater

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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