The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 4447-4454, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in TC.
Brief Communication "Expansion of meltwater lakes on the Greenland ice sheet"
I. M. Howat1, S. de la Peña1, J. H. van Angelen2, J. T. M. Lenaerts2, and M. R. van den Broeke2
1School of Earth Sciences and Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
2Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract. Forty years of satellite imagery reveal that meltwater lakes on the margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet have expanded substantially inland to higher elevations with warming. These lakes are important because they provide a mechanism for bringing water to the ice bed, warming the ice and causing sliding. Inland expansion of lakes could accelerate ice flow by bringing water to previously frozen bed, potentially increasing future rates of mass loss. Increasing lake elevations in West Greenland closely follow the rise of the mass balance equilibrium line, suggesting no physical limit on lake expansion there. This is not included in ice sheet models.

Citation: Howat, I. M., de la Peña, S., van Angelen, J. H., Lenaerts, J. T. M., and van den Broeke, M. R.: Brief Communication "Expansion of meltwater lakes on the Greenland ice sheet", The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 4447-4454, doi:10.5194/tcd-6-4447-2012, 2012.
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