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A comparison of balance velocities, measured velocities and thermomechanically modelled velocities for the Greenland ice sheet

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Balance velocities for the Greenland ice sheet have been calculated from a new digital-elevation model, accumulation-rates compilation and an existing ice-thickness grid, using a two-dimensional finite-difference scheme. The pattern of velocities over the ice sheet is presented and compared with velocities derived from synthetic-aperture-radar interferometry for part of northern Greenland and a limited number of global positioning system data. This comparison indicated that the balance-velocity scheme and boundary conditions used here provide a remarkably good representation of the dynamics of the ice sheet inland from the margins. It is suggested, therefore, that these balance-velocity data could provide a valuable method of constraining a numerical ice-sheet model. The balance velocities were compared with the diagnostic velocity field calculated from several different configurations of a numerical ice-sheet model. The general pattern of flow agrees well. The detail, however, is quite different. For example, the large (>300 km) ice stream in the northeast is not generated by the numerical model and much of the detailed flow pattern is completely lost due to the limited model resolution and limitations in the model physics.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2000

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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