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Annual accumulation for Greenland updated using ice core data developed during 2000-2006 and analysis of daily coastal meteorological data

  • Author(s): Bales, RC
  • Guo, Q
  • Shen, D
  • McConnell, JR
  • Du, G
  • Burkhart, JF
  • Spikes, VB
  • Hanna, E
  • Cappelen, J
  • et al.

An updated accumulation map for Greenland is presented on the basis of 39 new ice core estimates of accumulation, 256 ice sheet estimates from ice cores and snow pits used in previous maps, and reanalysis of time series data from 20 coastal weather stations. The period 1950-2000 is better represented by the data than are earlier periods. Ice-sheetwide accumulation was estimated based on kriging. The average accumulation (95% confidence interval, or ±2 times standard error) over the Greenland ice sheet is 30.0 ± 2.4 g cm -2 a-1, with the average accumulation above 2000-m elevation being essentially the same, 29.9 ± 2.2 g cm-2 a -1. At higher elevations the new accumulation map maintains the main features shown in previous maps. However, there are five coastal areas with obvious differences: southwest, northwest, and eastern regions, where the accumulation values are 20-50% lower than previously estimated, and southeast and northeast regions, where the accumulation values are 20-50% higher than previously estimated. These differences are almost entirely due to new coastal data. The much lower accumulation in the southwest and the much higher accumulation in the southeast indicated by the current map mean that long-term mass balance in both catchments is closer to steady state than previously estimated. However, uncertainty in these areas remains high owing to strong gradients in precipitation from the coast inland. A significant and sustained precipitation measurement program will be needed to resolve this uncertainty. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

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