Small-scale variability of meltwater refreezing in Southwest Greenland Ice Sheet firn

Authors: Jing Xiao*, Rutgers University, ├ůsa K Rennermalm, Department of Geography, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Sasha Leidman, Department of Geography, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Federico Covi, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kierin Rogers, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Mike MacFerrin, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado at Boulder, Regine Hock, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Marco Tedesco, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observation, Columbia University
Topics: Cryosphere
Keywords: firn core, meltwater refreezing, Southwest Greenland, ice layer
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Increasing mass loss of Greenland Ice Sheet is one of the main causes of 21st century global sea level rise. The majority of ice sheet mass loss comes from surface melting. Not all meltwater escapes to the ocean in the form of runoff, a substantial fraction infiltrates into firn and refreezes, which can act as a buffer against negative mass balance. Ice lenses formed in the firn, however, can also prevent meltwater from entering deeper layers. In that case, water will keep flowing to the ocean as surface runoff instead. To better understand the spatial variability of firn properties and potential impermeable layers, here we present ten firn cores drilled from three sites in Southwest Greenland during the past two field seasons. Their density profiles and stratigraphy are established. Multiple indices are also calculated to show the magnitude and distribution of ice lenses in each core. By making comparison both within site and between sites, we analyze the small-scale variability of these ice lenses and reveal the spatial patterns of meltwater refreezing in the firn.

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