Temporal history of ice dynamics contribution to volume changes of the southeast Greenland Ice Sheet
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Current estimations of the contribution of ice sheets to future sea level rise are solely based on changes in Surface Mass Balance (SMB) of Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets. However, the reported SMB changes over the Greenland Ice Sheet explain only about 50% of the observed total mass loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). The other 50% is caused by ice dynamic processes, which have not been included in most sea level rise predictions. The goal of this study was to investigate surface elevation changes of the entire GrIS in 2003-2009. In addition to the total elevation changes, elevation changes due to ice dynamics were also estimated by computing the difference between surface elevation changes measured by laser altimetry and those caused by SMB processes. I applied the Surface Elevation And Change Detection (SERAC) approach to derive surface elevation changes from laser altimetry observations. By fusing satellite laser altimetry (Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat)) and airborne laser altimetry (Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor (LVIS)) data, I have reconstructed the elevation and volume change history of the GrIS at more than 55,000 locations. To estimate elevation changes due to SMB, SMB anomalies from RACMO2/GR were converted into height changes using a simple firn-densification model. To facilitate the visualization of elevation changes and the computation of volume changes I interpolated the irregularly distributed observations of ice sheet elevation changes into regular grids. Finally, I partitioned the ice sheet elevation and volume changes into SMB-related and ice dynamics-related changes and computed the contributions of major drainage basins. I have shown that the southeast GrIS was the main contributor of ice loss in Greenland in 2003-2009. The Kangerlussuaq Glacier drainage basin exhibited the largest ice-dynamics related volume loss from the twelve major drainage basins of southeast Greenland. The regions below 2000 m elevation, despite constituting only about 28% of the southeast GrIS, contribute to more than 92% to its ice-dynamics related volume loss. Ice sheet elevation changes, as well as annual volume changes of the twelve major southeast Greenland drainage basins, show a complex spatial and temporal pattern. Finally, the effect of ocean and air temperature changes as external forcing mechanisms on the observed volume change patterns is also discussed. I have shown that the trend of ocean temperatures anomalies along the southeast coast of the GrIS shows a close similarity to the estimated ice-dynamics related volume change pattern.