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Bathymetry data reveal glaciers vulnerable to ice-ocean interaction in Uummannaq and Vaigat glacial fjords, West Greenland.

Rignot, E. and Fenty, I. and Xu, Y. and Cai, C. and Velicogna, I. and Ó Cofaigh, C. and Dowdeswell, J. A. and Weinrebe, W. and Catania, G. and Duncan, D. (2016) 'Bathymetry data reveal glaciers vulnerable to ice-ocean interaction in Uummannaq and Vaigat glacial fjords, West Greenland.', Geophysical research letters., 43 (6). pp. 2667-2674.

Abstract

Marine-terminating glaciers play a critical role in controlling Greenland's ice sheet mass balance. Their frontal margins interact vigorously with the ocean, but our understanding of this interaction is limited, in part, by a lack of bathymetry data. Here we present a multibeam echo sounding survey of 14 glacial fjords in the Uummannaq and Vaigat fjords, west Greenland, which extends from the continental shelf to the glacier fronts. The data reveal valleys with shallow sills, overdeepenings (>1300 m) from glacial erosion, and seafloor depths 100–1000 m deeper than in existing charts. Where fjords are deep enough, we detect the pervasive presence of warm, salty Atlantic Water (AW) (>2.5°C) with high melt potential, but we also find numerous glaciers grounded on shallow (<200 m) sills, standing in cold (<1°C) waters in otherwise deep fjords, i.e., with reduced melt potential. Bathymetric observations extending to the glacier fronts are critical to understand the glacier evolution.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GL067832
Publisher statement:Rignot, E., Fenty, I., Xu, Y., Cai, C., Velicogna, I., Ó Cofaigh, C., Dowdeswell, J. A., Weinrebe, W., Catania, G. & Duncan, D. (2016). Bathymetry data reveal glaciers vulnerable to ice-ocean interaction in Uummannaq and Vaigat glacial fjords, West Greenland. Geophysical Research Letters 43(6): 2667-2674, 10.1002/2016GL067832. To view the published open abstract, go to https://doi.org/ and enter the DOI.
Date accepted:02 March 2016
Date deposited:22 August 2017
Date of first online publication:25 March 2016
Date first made open access:27 September 2021

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