Volume and velocity changes at Mittivakkat Gletscher, southeast Greenland

Sebastian H. Mernild, Niels T. Knudsen, Matthew J. Hoffman, Jacob C. Yde, Edward Hanna, William H. Lipscomb, Jeppe K. Malmros, Robert S. Fausto

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17 Citations (Scopus)


We document changes for Mittivakkat Gletscher, the peripheral glacier in Greenland with the longest field-based observed mass-balance and surface velocity time series. Between 1986 and 2011, this glacier changed by -15% in mean ice thickness and -30% in volume. We attribute these changes to summer warming and lower winter snow accumulation. Vertical strain compensated for ∼60% of the elevation change due to surface mass balance (SMB) in the lower part, and ∼25% in the upper part. The annual mean ice surface velocity changed by -30%, which can be fully explained by the dynamic effect of ice thinning, within uncertainty. Mittivakkat Gletscher summer surface velocities were on average 50-60% above winter background values, and up to 160% higher during peak velocity events. Peak velocity events were accompanied by uplift of a few centimeters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660-670
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Issue number216
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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