Production and Routing of Surface Meltwater on the Greenland Ice Sheet Ablation Zone Near the Ilulissat Glacier

Authors: Christopher Pessell*,
Topics: Cryosphere, Remote Sensing, Physical Geography
Keywords: Greenland, supraglacial lakes, remote sensing, glaciers
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Enhanced glacial melt has been observed across the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS), including the Ilulissat Glacier (commonly known as Jakobshavn Isbrae) over the past few decades. This increased glacier meltwater channelizes across the surface to form supraglacial melt lakes in topographic depressions. Surface melt across the ablation zone (or melt zone) of the GrIS is driven by near-surface air temperature above the melting point (0°C). We have identified five supraglacial lakes in the ablation zone that form regularly over subsequent melt seasons, and are in close proximity to a Greenland Climate Network (GC-Net) automated weather station (AWS). The catchment area for these lakes are delineated using high-resolution digital elevation models (DEM). Among the five supraglacial lakes, eight instances of growth are recorded from Landsat-8 satellite imagery. We apply the Positive Degree Day (PDD) model to the catchment areas to model the production of surface meltwater in the basin over the period of melt lake growth. The modeled results are then compared to the growth in supraglacial melt lake sizes from acquired Landsat-8 imagery over a period of two melt seasons (2014 and 2015).

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