The Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet - recent developments

Andreas P. Ahlstrøm, Signe B. Andersen, Dirk van As, Michele Citterio, Robert S. Fausto, John Peter Merryman, Jørgen Dall, René Forsberg, Steen Savtrup Kristensen, Erik Lintz Christensen, Dorthe Petersen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedings


The Greenland ice sheet has been losing mass at increasing rate during recent years, with possible impact on global sea level rise and climate dynamics. With this in view Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet (PROMICE) has been launched by the Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy. The aim of the programme is to quantify the annual mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet and track changes in the extent of the glaciers, ice caps and ice sheet margin.

The PROMICE programme comprises of three main observational activities: 1) Establish-ment and maintenance of a network of automatic mass-balance stations (AMS) on the margin of the Greenland ice sheet, 2) Conduct of airborne surveys, yielding surface eleva-tion and ice depth along the entire margin of the Greenland ice sheet and 3) Derivation of ice sheet surface velocity from satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR). In combination the-se data sources should give us both the surface melt and dynamic mass loss by calving which are the two main mechanisms responsible for the mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet. Mass loss by melting may be calculated from the AMS network. Each station measures the climate factors causing melt as well as the subsequent local mass loss. The final station network will include a total of 14 stations located in seven climatically different regions of the Greenland ice sheet and is intended to be fully operational from 2011 and onwards. At each location, one station will be placed in the lower ablation zone, another in the higher ablation zone. Currently, twelve of these stations are operational in six regions of the ice sheet margin. The mass loss by iceberg calving is obtained from the airborne sur-veys and satellite observations allowing us to determine the thickness and flow speed of the ice from the interior of the ice sheet towards the ice sheet margin, giving us the flux from the inland towards the ocean via Greenland’s outlet glaciers.

Here we present some of the most recent developments within PROMICE including ice velocities derived for the Kangerlussuaq region from 2007/08 ALOS PALSAR data and the new online data base with climate data from the PROMICE AMS network.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Dynamics and Mass Budget of Arctic Glaciers
Subtitle of host publicationExtended Abstracts. Annual Workshop/Glaciodyn Meeting 7-10 March 2010, Obergurgl (Austria). IASC Network on Arctic Glaciology
EditorsA.P. Ahlstrøm, M. Sharp
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event2010 annual workshop on the dynamics and mass budget of Arctic glaciers of the Network on Arctic Glaciology - Univesitätszentrum Obergurgl, Obergugl, Austria
Duration: 8 Mar 201010 Mar 2010


Conference2010 annual workshop on the dynamics and mass budget of Arctic glaciers of the Network on Arctic Glaciology

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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