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Surface mass-balance observations and automatic weather station data along a transect near Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland

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Surface mass-balance data from the Kangerlussuaq transect (K-transect) located on the western part of the Greenland ice sheet near 67° N are presented. The series covers the period 1990–2003 and is the longest series of surface mass-balance measurements in Greenland. The surface massbalance measurements cover an altitude range of 390–1850 m and show a linear increase of the specific mass balance, with a mass-balance gradient of 3.7 × 10−3 m m−1 and a mean equilibrium-line altitude of 1535 m a.s.l. Interannual variability shows a weak 4 yearly periodicity. In addition to the surface mass-balance data, automatic weather station data at an elevation of approximately 1010 m are available for the period 1997–2002. These data are used to explain observed surface mass-balance anomalies over the same 5 years. It is shown that variations in shortwave radiation dominate interannual variability. The mean annual cycle of temperature is characterized by a maximum in summer around the melting point, leading to a mean summer outgoing longwave radiation of approximately 314 W m−2. The mean annual cycle in wind speed shows a maximum in winter (on average around 8 m s−1) and a minimum in summer (on average around 5 m s−1), which is characteristic for a katabatic forcing. During summer the net radiation is on average about 61 W m−2, which is used for ice melting at a rate of typically 2 cm w.e.d−1. Net radiation contributes 84% of the total energy used for summer melting averaged over the 5 years.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756405781812529

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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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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