Formation and development of supraglacial lakes in the percolation zone of the Greenland ice sheet

CHRISTINE CHEN, IAN M. HOWAT, SANTIAGO DE LA PEÑA
2017 Journal of Glaciology  
We examine repeat surface altimetry and radio echo observations of two supraglacial lakes in the percolation zone of the Greenland ice sheet to investigate the changes in firn conditions leading to lake formation and implications for meltwater storage within firn. Both lakes formed in 2011, when an anomalously high melt season was followed by low winter accumulation, resulting in reduced infiltration and storage in the near surface. The lakes expanded during the 2012 record melt season and
more » ... elt season and retained liquid meltwater through the following winter. The lakes then contracted, with one lake slowly draining and refreezing and another rapidly draining to the subsurface. The lack of observable change in firn conditions surrounding the lakes indicates increased run-off in the near surface firn, likely along low-permeability ice layers formed during the previous melt seasons. This implies a reduced ability of the firn to absorb increased meltwater.
doi:10.1017/jog.2017.50 fatcat:ydypabynrbc4do7iiqxlxk2qli