Inferring the variation of climatic and glaciological contributions to West Greenland iceberg discharge in the twentieth century

Zhao, Yifan and Bigg, Grant R. and Billings, Steve A. and Hanna, Edward and Sole, Andrew J. and Wei, Hua-liang and Kadirkamanathan, Visakan and Wilton, David J. (2016) Inferring the variation of climatic and glaciological contributions to West Greenland iceberg discharge in the twentieth century. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 121 . pp. 167-178. ISSN 0165-232X

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Abstract

Iceberg discharge is a major component of the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). While bulk estimates of discharge variation over time exist, inferred remotely from measurements of grounding line ice velocities or surface mass balance calculations, few detailed measurements of discharge itself from individual marine-terminating glaciers existed until recent years. Recently, it has been shown, through a combination of ocean-iceberg modelling and non-linear system identification, that the century-long record of iceberg numbers crossing 48oN in the West Atlantic is a good first-order proxy for discharge from at least south and west Greenland. Here, we explore the varying relative importance of ice sheet, oceanic and climatic forcing of iceberg discharge from these areas over the twentieth century, by carrying out sensitivity studies of a non-linear auto-regressive mathematical model of the 48oN time series. We find that the relationships are mainly non-linear, with the contribution of the GrIS surface mass balance to iceberg discharge likely to be dominant in the first half of the century. This period is followed by several decades where oceanic temperature effects are most important in determining the model variation in iceberg discharge. In recent decades, all physical processes play a non-negligible part in explaining the iceberg discharge and the model suggests that the glacial response time to environmental changes may have decreased. © 2015.

Additional Information:Open Access funded by Natural Environment Research Council
Keywords:Glacial geology, Glaciers, Ice, Linear systems, Climate, Greenland, Ice sheet, Iceberg, Ocean temperature, Systems modelling, Sea ice, JCOpen
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F330 Environmental Physics
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
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ID Code:26005
Deposited On:10 Feb 2017 09:08

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