EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Calving response to the propagation of a speedup pulse through the ice stream of Sermeq Kujalleq in Kangia (Jakoshavn Isbræ), Greenland

Adrien Wehrlé1, Martin P Lüthi1, Ana Nap1, Andrea Kneib-Walter1, Guillaume Jouvet2, Hugo Rousseau1, and Fabian Walter3
Adrien Wehrlé et al.
  • 1Institute of Geography, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 3Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Birmensdorf, Switzerland

Sermeq Kujalleq in Kangia (Jakobshavn Isbræ), Greenland is one of the most studied glaciers in the world mainly due to its recent retreat associated with extremely fast ice stream flow and high solid ice discharge. However, large limitations remain in the understanding of its short-term ice dynamics as the study of sub-daily variations, generally undetectable in spaceborne observations, requires high-rate field measurements that are challenging to acquire. Here, we present glacier surface velocities determined in Post-Processed Kinematic (PPK) mode from eight autonomous Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) stations deployed in July 2022 along the ice stream at a distance of 4 to 30 kilometers from the calving front. During this field campaign, we identified an 8-hour-long glacier speedup which was recorded at all GNSS stations and reached up to 11% of the pre-event velocity, followed by a 12-hour-long slowdown of similar magnitude. We further found the peak velocity was first measured at a GNSS station 16 kilometers away from the calving front, then recorded consecutively at each of the three other downstream GNSS stations with a positive time lag corresponding to a ~3 km/h wave propagation speed. At the station closest to the calving front, the timing of peak velocity corresponded to the occurrence of large-scale calving events. We further present line-of-sight glacier surface velocities measured along three shear margin transects with a terrestrial radar interferometer deployed simultaneously with the GNSS array. Across all profiles, we observed a widespread and simultaneous response of fast- and slow-moving ice suggesting a strong coupling between the main trunk and the shear margins of the ice stream.

How to cite: Wehrlé, A., Lüthi, M. P., Nap, A., Kneib-Walter, A., Jouvet, G., Rousseau, H., and Walter, F.: Calving response to the propagation of a speedup pulse through the ice stream of Sermeq Kujalleq in Kangia (Jakoshavn Isbræ), Greenland, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11695,, 2023.