Assessing the Current Evolution of the Greenland Ice Sheet by Means of Satellite and Ground-Based Observations

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The present study utilises different satellite and ground-based geodetic observations in order to assess the current evolution of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS). Satellite gravimetry data acquired by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment are used to derive ice-mass changes for the period from 2003 to 2012. The inferred time series are investigated regarding long-term, seasonal and interannual variations. Laser altimetry data acquired by the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) are utilised to solve for linear and seasonal changes in the ice-surface height and to infer independent mass-change estimates for the entire GIS and its major drainage basins. We demonstrate that common signals can be identified in the results of both sensors. Moreover, the analysis of a Global Positioning System (GPS) campaign network in West Greenland for the period 1995–2007 allows us to derive crustal deformation caused by glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) and by present-day ice-mass changes. ICESat-derived elastic crustal deformations are evaluated comparing them with GPS-observed uplift rates which were corrected for the GIA effect inferred by model predictions. Existing differences can be related to the limited resolution of ICESat. Such differences are mostly evident in dynamical regions such as the Disko Bay region including the rapidly changing Jakobshavn Isbræ, which is investigated in more detail. Glacier flow velocities are inferred from satellite imagery yielding an accelerated flow from 1999 to 2012. Since our GPS observations cover a period of more than a decade, changes in the vertical uplift rates can also be investigated. It turns out that the increased mass loss of the glacier is also reflected by an accelerated vertical uplift.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1459-1480
Journal Surveys in geophysics : an international review journal of geophysics and planetary sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014

External IDs

Scopus 84927123656
ORCID /0000-0002-0892-8941/work/142248909


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