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Reconstructing Greenland ice sheet runoff using coralline algae

Nicholas A. Kamenos, Trevor B. Hoey, Peter Nienow, Anthony E. Fallick and Thomas Claverie
Reconstructing Greenland ice sheet runoff using coralline algae
Geology (Boulder) (September 2012) 40 (12): 1095-1098


The Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) contains the largest store of fresh water in the Northern Hemisphere, equivalent to approximately 7.4 m of eustatic sea-level rise, but its impacts on current, past, and future sea level, ocean circulation, and European climate are poorly understood. Previous estimates of GrIS melt, from 26 yr of satellite observations and temperature-driven melt models over 48 yr, show increasing melt trends. There are, however, no runoff data of comparable duration with which to validate the relationship between the spatial extent of melting and runoff or temperature-based runoff models. Further, longer runoff records are needed to extend the melt pattern of Greenland to centennial timescales, enabling recent observations and trends to be put into a better historical context. We have developed a new GrIS runoff proxy by extracting information on relative salinity changes from annual growth bands of red coralline algae. We observed significant negative relationships between historic runoff, relative salinity, and marine summer temperature in Sondre Stromfjord, Greenland. We produce the first reconstruction of runoff from a section of the GrIS that discharges into Sondre Stromfjord over several decades (1939-2002) and record a trend of increasing reconstructed runoff since the mid 1980s. In situ summer marine temperatures followed an equivalent trend. We suggest that since A.D. 1939, atmospheric temperatures have been important in forcing runoff. These results show that our technique has significant potential to enhance understanding of runoff from large ice sheets as it will enable melt reconstruction over centennial to millennial timescales.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 40
Serial Issue: 12
Title: Reconstructing Greenland ice sheet runoff using coralline algae
Affiliation: University of Glasgow, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Pages: 1095-1098
Published: 20120918
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 37
Accession Number: 2012-101267
Categories: Quaternary geologyPaleobotany
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: With GSA Data Repository Item 2012317; accessed on October 15, 2012
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
Source Medium: WWW
N66°00'00" - N67°00'00", W53°30'00" - W50°30'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Edinburgh, GBR, United KingdomScottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, GBR, United KingdomUniversity of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201252
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