U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Increasing Mass Loss from Greenland’s Mittivakkat Glacier
Published: April 28, 2011
Posted: May 31, 2011

Warming in the Arctic during the past several decades has caused glaciers to thin and retreat. Recent mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet is well documented. Local glaciers peripheral to the ice sheet are also retreating, but few long-term mass-balance observations are available. This study, partially supported by DOE, focused on the Mittivakkat Gletscher (MG; 17.6 km2; 65°41 N, 37°48 W), the only local glacier in Greenland for which there exists long-term observations of both the surface mass balance and glacier front fluctuations. The study documented record mass loss in 2009 and 2010, attributed primarily to record high mean summer (June–August) temperatures in combination with lower than average winter precipitation. In addition, the 15-year mass-balance record, based on the ratio of the accumulation area to total glacier area, indicates that the glacier is significantly out of balance and will likely lose at least 70% of its current area and 80% of its volume even in the absence of further climate changes. Temperature records from coastal stations in Southeast Greenland suggest that recent MG mass losses are not a local phenomenon, but are indicative of glacier changes in the broader region. Mass balance observations for the MG therefore provide unique documentation of the general retreat of Southeast Greenland’s local glaciers under ongoing climate warming.

Reference: Mernild, S. H., Knudsen, N. T., Lipscomb, W. H., Yde, J. C., Malmros, J. K., Hasholt, B., and Jakobsen, B. H. 2011. “Increasing Mass Loss from Greenland’s Mittivakket Gletscher,” The Cryosphere 5, 341–348.

Contact: Renu Joseph, SC-23.1, (301) 903-9237, Dorothy Koch, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0105
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)