Persistent flow acceleration within the interior of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Samuel Huckerby Doyle, Alun Lloyd Hubbard, Andrew Alexander William Fitzpatrick, Dirk Van As, Andreas Mikkelsen, Rickard Pettersson, Bryn Pugh Hubbard

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We present surface velocity measurements from a high-elevation site located 140 km from the western margin of the Greenland ice sheet, and ~ 50 km into its accumulation area. Annual velocity increased each year from 51.78 ± 0.01 m yr−1 in 2009 to 52.92 ± 0.01 m yr−1 in 2012—a net increase of 2.2%. These data also reveal a strong seasonal velocity cycle of up to 8.1% above the winter mean, driven by seasonal melt and supraglacial lake drainage. Sole et al. (2013) recently argued that ice motion in the ablation area is mediated by reduced winter flow following the development of efficient subglacial drainage during warmer, faster, summers. Our data extend this analysis and reveal a year-on-year increase in annual velocity above the equilibrium line altitude, where despite surface melt increasing, it is still sufficiently low to hinder the development of efficient drainage under thick ice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-905
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number3
Early online date14 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2014


  • Greenland Ice Sheet
  • Global Positioning System
  • Acceleration
  • Ice sheet dynamics


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