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Title: Increasing runoff and sediment load from the Greenland ice sheet at kangerlussuaq (Sonder Stromfjord) in a 30-year perspective, 1979-2008

Abstract

This observation and modeling study provides insights into runoff and sediment load exiting the Watson River drainage basin, Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland during a 30 year period (1978/79-2007/08) when the climate experienced increasing temperatures and precipitation. The 30-year simulations quantify the terrestrial freshwater and sediment output from part of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) and the land between the GrIS and the ocean, in the context of global warming and increasing GrIS surface melt. We used a snow-evolution modeling system (SnowModel) to simulate the winter accumulation and summer ablation processes, including runoff and surface mass balance (SMB), of the Greenland ice sheet. Observed sediment concentrations were related to observed runoff, producing a sediment-load time series. To a large extent, the SMB fluctuations could be explained by changes in net precipitation (precipitation minus evaporation and sublimation), with 8 out of 30 years having negative SMB, mainly because of relatively low annual net precipitation. The overall trend in net precipitation and runoff increased significantly, while 5MB increased insignificantly throughout the simulation period, leading to enhanced precipitation of 0.59 km{sup 3} w.eq. (or 60%), runoff of 0.43 km{sup 3} w.eq (or 54%), and SMB of 0.16 km3 w.eq. (or 86%). Runoff rose on averagemore » from 0.80 km{sup 3} w.eq. in 1978/79 to 1.23 km{sup 3} w.eq. in 2007/08. The percentage of catchment oudet runoff explained by runoff from the GrIS decreased on average {approx} 10%, indicating that catchment runoff throughout the simulation period was influenced more by precipitation and snowmelt events, and less by runoff from the GrIS. Average variations in the increasing Kangerlussuaq runoff from 1978/79 through 2007/08 seem to follow the overall variations in satellite-derived GrIS surface melt, where 64% of the variations in simulated runoff were explained by regional melt conditions on the GrIS. Throughout the simulation period, the sediment load varied from a minimum of 0.96 x 10{sup 6} t y{sup -1} in 1991/92 to a maximum of 3.52 x 10{sup 6} t y{sup -1} in 2006/07, showing an average increase of sediment load of 9.42 x 10{sup 5} t (or 72%) throughout the period.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [4];  [6]
  1. Los Alamos National Laboratory
  2. COLORADO STATE UNIV.
  3. UNIV OF COPENGAGEN
  4. UNIV OF COLORADO
  5. UTRECHT UNIV
  6. UNIV OF AARHUS
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
971308
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-09-06179; LA-UR-09-6179
TRN: US201004%%70
DOE Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Hydrometeorology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Journal of Hydrometeorology
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58; ABLATION; CLIMATES; DRAINAGE; EVAPORATION; FLUCTUATIONS; GREENHOUSE EFFECT; GREENLAND; MASS BALANCE; PRECIPITATION; RIVERS; RUNOFF; SEDIMENTS; SIMULATION; SUBLIMATION

Citation Formats

Mernild, Sebastian Haugard, Liston, Glen, Hasholt, Bent, Steffen, Konrad, Van Den Broeke, Michiel, Mcgrath, Daniel, and Yde, Jacob. Increasing runoff and sediment load from the Greenland ice sheet at kangerlussuaq (Sonder Stromfjord) in a 30-year perspective, 1979-2008. United States: N. p., 2009. Web.
Mernild, Sebastian Haugard, Liston, Glen, Hasholt, Bent, Steffen, Konrad, Van Den Broeke, Michiel, Mcgrath, Daniel, & Yde, Jacob. Increasing runoff and sediment load from the Greenland ice sheet at kangerlussuaq (Sonder Stromfjord) in a 30-year perspective, 1979-2008. United States.
Mernild, Sebastian Haugard, Liston, Glen, Hasholt, Bent, Steffen, Konrad, Van Den Broeke, Michiel, Mcgrath, Daniel, and Yde, Jacob. 2009. "Increasing runoff and sediment load from the Greenland ice sheet at kangerlussuaq (Sonder Stromfjord) in a 30-year perspective, 1979-2008". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/971308.
@article{osti_971308,
title = {Increasing runoff and sediment load from the Greenland ice sheet at kangerlussuaq (Sonder Stromfjord) in a 30-year perspective, 1979-2008},
author = {Mernild, Sebastian Haugard and Liston, Glen and Hasholt, Bent and Steffen, Konrad and Van Den Broeke, Michiel and Mcgrath, Daniel and Yde, Jacob},
abstractNote = {This observation and modeling study provides insights into runoff and sediment load exiting the Watson River drainage basin, Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland during a 30 year period (1978/79-2007/08) when the climate experienced increasing temperatures and precipitation. The 30-year simulations quantify the terrestrial freshwater and sediment output from part of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) and the land between the GrIS and the ocean, in the context of global warming and increasing GrIS surface melt. We used a snow-evolution modeling system (SnowModel) to simulate the winter accumulation and summer ablation processes, including runoff and surface mass balance (SMB), of the Greenland ice sheet. Observed sediment concentrations were related to observed runoff, producing a sediment-load time series. To a large extent, the SMB fluctuations could be explained by changes in net precipitation (precipitation minus evaporation and sublimation), with 8 out of 30 years having negative SMB, mainly because of relatively low annual net precipitation. The overall trend in net precipitation and runoff increased significantly, while 5MB increased insignificantly throughout the simulation period, leading to enhanced precipitation of 0.59 km{sup 3} w.eq. (or 60%), runoff of 0.43 km{sup 3} w.eq (or 54%), and SMB of 0.16 km3 w.eq. (or 86%). Runoff rose on average from 0.80 km{sup 3} w.eq. in 1978/79 to 1.23 km{sup 3} w.eq. in 2007/08. The percentage of catchment oudet runoff explained by runoff from the GrIS decreased on average {approx} 10%, indicating that catchment runoff throughout the simulation period was influenced more by precipitation and snowmelt events, and less by runoff from the GrIS. Average variations in the increasing Kangerlussuaq runoff from 1978/79 through 2007/08 seem to follow the overall variations in satellite-derived GrIS surface melt, where 64% of the variations in simulated runoff were explained by regional melt conditions on the GrIS. Throughout the simulation period, the sediment load varied from a minimum of 0.96 x 10{sup 6} t y{sup -1} in 1991/92 to a maximum of 3.52 x 10{sup 6} t y{sup -1} in 2006/07, showing an average increase of sediment load of 9.42 x 10{sup 5} t (or 72%) throughout the period.},
doi = {},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/971308}, journal = {Journal of Hydrometeorology},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2009},
month = {1}
}