The Greenland Firn Compaction Verification and Reconnaissance (FirnCover) dataset, 2013–2019

Michael J. MacFerrin, C. Max Stevens, Baptiste Vandecrux, Edwin D. Waddington, Waleed Abdalati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Assessing changes in the density of snow and firn is vital to convert volume changes into mass changes on glaciers and ice sheets. Firn models simulate this process but typically rely upon steady-state assumptions and geographically and temporally limited sets of field measurements for validation. Given rapid changes recently observed in Greenland's surface mass balance, a contemporary dataset measuring firn compaction in a range of climate zones across the Greenland ice sheet's accumulation zone is needed. To fill this need, the Firn Compaction Verification and Reconnaissance (FirnCover) dataset comprises daily measurements from 48 strainmeters installed in boreholes at eight sites on the Greenland ice sheet between 2013 and 2019. The dataset also includes daily records of 2g m air temperature, snow height, and firn temperature from each station. The majority of the FirnCover stations were installed in close proximity to automated weather stations that measure a wider suite of meteorological measurements, allowing the user access to auxiliary datasets for model validation studies using FirnCover data. The dataset can be found here: 10.18739/A25X25D7M (MacFerrin et al., 2021).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955–971
Number of pages17
JournalEarth System Science Data
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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