Mapping of a hydrological ice-sheet drainage basin on the West Greenland ice-sheet margin from ERS-1/-2 SAR interferometry, ice-radar measurement and modelling
Abstract:The hydrological ice-sheet basin draining into the Tasersiaq lake, West Greenland (66°13' N, 50°30' W), was delineated, first using standard digital elevation models (DEMs) for ice-sheet surface and bedrock, and subsequently using a new high-resolution dataset, with a surface DEM derived from repeat-track interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and a bedrock topography derived from an airborne 60 MHz ice-penetrating radar. The extent of the delineation was calculated from a water-pressure potential as a function of the ice-sheet surface and bedrock elevations and a hydraulic factor k describing the relative importance of the potential of the ice over-burden pressure compared to the bedrock topography. The meltwater run-off for the basin delineations was modelled with an energy-balance model calibrated with observed ice-sheet ablation and compared to a 25 year time series of measured basin run-off. The standard DEMs were found to be inadequate for delineation purposes, whereas delineations from high-resolution data were found to be very sensitive to changes in k in a non-linear way, causing a factor 5 change of basin area, corresponding to a doubling of the modelled run-off. The 50% standard deviation of the measured basin run-off could thus be explained by small year-to-year variations of the k-factor.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2002
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