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TitleGlacier velocities and dynamic ice discharge from the Queen Elizabeth Islands, Nunavut, Canada
Authorvan Wychen, W; Burgess, D OORCID logo; Gray, L; Copland, L; Sharp, M; Dowdeswell, J A; Benham, T J
SourceGeophysical Research Letters vol. 41, issue 2, 2014 p. 484-490,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20130293
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
NTS48E; 48F; 48G; 48H; 58E; 58H; 29; 39; 49; 59; 120; 340; 560A; 560D
AreaQueen Elizabeth Islands; Devon Island; Ellesmere Island; Axel Heiberg Island
Lat/Long WENS-102.0000 -56.0000 84.0000 74.5000
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; glaciers; glacier surveys; ice; ice movement; discharge rates; flow velocities
Illustrationslocation maps; tables
Released2014 01 23
AbstractRecent studies indicate an increase in glacier mass loss from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago as a result of warmer summer air temperatures. However, no complete assessment of dynamic ice discharge from this region exists. We present the first complete surface velocity mapping of all ice masses in the Queen Elizabeth Islands and show that these ice masses discharged ~2.6 ± 0.8 Gt a-1 of ice to the oceans in winter 2012. Approximately 50% of the dynamic discharge was channeled through non surge-type Trinity and Wykeham Glaciers alone. Dynamic discharge of the surge-type Mittie Glacier varied from 0.90 ± 0.09 Gt a-1 during its 2003 surge to 0.02 ± 0.02 Gt a-1 during quiescence in 2012, highlighting the importance of surge-type glaciers for interannual variability in regional mass loss. Queen Elizabeth Islands glaciers currently account for ~7.5% of reported dynamic discharge from Arctic ice masses outside Greenland.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Glacier mass loss due to ice-berg calving is an important form of ablation from ice caps in the Canadian high Arctic being second only to mass loss due to summer melting. Until recently however, the rate of calving flux from this region has been poorly quantified. This paper provides the most complete estimate calving flux to date from ice velocity fields derived using RADARSAT-2 imagery acquired in 2012, and all available ice thickness data with the most recent being from 2012 NASA Operation IceBridge aerial surveys. Results from this study indicate that Canadian ice caps lost ~2.6 Gigatons of ice mass to calving in 2012, and velocity fluctuations of a few important tidewater glaciers can significantly increase calving rates from one year to the next. Findings from this study confirm that solid ice discharge from Canadian Arctic ice caps can have important impacts on net mass balance of ice caps in this region.

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