Surface Meltwater Impounded by Seasonal Englacial Storage in West Greenland

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number19
Early online date24 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2018
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The delivery of surface meltwater through englacial drainage systems to the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet modulates ice flow through basal lubrication. Recent studies in Southeast Greenland have identified a perennial firn aquifer; however, there are few observations quantifying the input or residence time of water within the englacial system and it remains unknown whether water can be stored within solid ice. Using hourly stationary radar measurements, we present observations of englacial and episodic subglacial water in the ablation zone of Store Glacier in West Greenland. We find significant storage of meltwater in solid ice damaged by crevasses extending down to 48 m below the ice surface during the summer which is released or refrozen during winter. This is a significant hydrological component newly observed in the ablation zone of Greenland that could delay the delivery of meltwater to the bed, changing the ice dynamic response to surface meltwater


  • glacial hydrology, radio glaciology, englacial storage, subglacial draiange, Greenland Ice Sheet