Sediment discharge from Greenland’s marine-terminating glaciers is linked with surface melt

Camilla S. Andresen, Nanna B. Karlsson, Fiammetta Straneo, Sabine Schmidt, Thorbjørn J. Andersen, Emily F. Eidam, Anders A. Bjørk, Nicolas Dartiguemalle, Laurence M. Dyke, Flor Vermassen, Ida E. Gundel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Sediment discharged from the Greenland Ice Sheet delivers nutrients to marine ecosystems around Greenland and shapes seafloor habitats. Current estimates of the total sediment flux are constrained by observations from land-terminating glaciers only. Addressing this gap, our study presents a budget derived from observations at 30 marine-margin locations. Analyzing sediment cores from nine glaciated fjords, we assess spatial deposition since 1950. A significant correlation is established between mass accumulation rates, normalized by surface runoff, and distance down-fjord. This enables calculating annual sediment flux at any fjord point based on nearby marine-terminating outlet glacier melt data. Findings reveal a total annual sediment flux of 1.324 + /− 0.79 Gt yr-1 over the period 2010-2020 from all marine-terminating glaciers to the fjords. These estimates are valuable for studies aiming to understand the basal ice sheet conditions and for studies predicting ecosystem changes in Greenland’s fjords and offshore areas as the ice sheet melts and sediment discharge increase.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1332
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2024

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate

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