Byrd Polar Research Center - Research Wiki

Printable version | Disclaimers | Privacy policy

Greenland Factsheet

From Byrd Polar Research Center - Research Wiki

Contents

Introduction to the Greenland Ice Sheet

  • Greenland is the world's largest island. I like to call it the world's smallest continent, but that's not technically correct. ;)
    • The island is about one quarter the size of the continental USA.
  • Greenland is host to the second largest ice mass on the planet, accounting for ~11% of the global ice surface area (Thomas, 1993).
    • is the only ice sheet in the Northern Hemisphere
    • is thought to have built up approximately 2.4 million years ago (Souchez, 1997).
  • The ice sheet would add between 6 and 7.4 meters to the global sea level (Warrick et al. 1996).
  • The ice sheet responds to climate on a variety of time scales, that is, from from seconds to its variations induced over past millenia (see Abe-Ouchi, 1994).

Prominent Physical Features

Highest Mountains

  • Gunnbjorn 3698 m (tallest mountain North of the Arctic Circle)
  • Petermann Bjerg in Northern Greenland
  • Mont Forel 3360 m

Ice sheet Topographic Features

  • southern dome
  • East Dome -67.5N 36.5W (Ekholm DEM)
  • Ice sheet summit

Prominent Ice Sheet Features

  • The ice divide that runs North-South over the crest of the ice sheet

Ice Sheet Elevation

  • Maximum elevation: 3275 m
  • Average elevation: 1922 m, skewness: -0.418
  • Median elevation: 2065 m
  • area above 1000 m: 82%
  • area above 2000 m: 53%

‡:above 0 m and above the WGS84 ellipsoid

Ice Sheet Area

  • Area of island: 2.1756 106 km2 (Ohmura et al. 1999)
  • Area of ice sheet: 1.801±0.016×106 km2 (Kargel et al. 2012). 1.785 x 106 km2 (Ohmura et al. 1999)
    • This value is 82% of the total area.
    • Nearly 97% of the ice covered area (or 1.736 x 106 km2 ) is comprised of the ice sheet, and the remaining area (4.9 x 10 km2) is shared among valley glaciers and ice caps near the coast (Ohmura et al. 1999).
  • Area of ice free land: 3.383 x 105 km2
  • Area of ice sheet: 1.67610 x 106 km2 (Ohmura and Reeh, 1991).
  • 2D Area 1.68513619939632 x 109 km2 (calculations by R. Huff using Bamber et al. 2001)
  • 3D Area 1.68549482526027 x 109 km2 (calculations by R. Huff using Bamber et al. 2001)

Ice Sheet Volume

  • Total volume of ice contained in the ice sheet: 2.931 x 106 km3 (Bamber et al. 2001)
    • This is the equivalent to an additional 7 m of global sea level rise.
  • Ice sheet volume: 2.911080129751762 x 1012 m3 (calculations by R. Huff using Bamber et al. 2001)
  • Total ice volume estimated at 2.620 x 106 km3 (Ohmura et al., 1999)
    • This is the equivalent to an additional 6.7 m of global sea level rise, without considering the effect of hydro-isostacy.

Ice Sheet Mass

  • Mass of ice sheet: 2.66946 x 1018 kg
    • (calculations by P.J. Petersen, assuming ice density of 917 kg/m3)
  • Mass of ice sheet: 2.66946 x 1015 metric tons
  • Mass of ice sheet: 8.28886129 x 1012 Boeing 747's
    • Assuming airplane weight of 3.22053 x 105
  • Mass of ice sheet: 27,085,538,493 U.S. Naval aircraft carriers
    • Assuming carrier weight of 98,556.67 metric tons

Greenland Basal Elevations and Ice Thickness

  1. Maximum thickness: 3366.5 m (calculations by R. Huff using Bamber et al. 2001a DEM)
  2. Average Basal elevation: 249 m (R. Huff, Based on Bamber et al. 2001)
  3. Min Basal elevation: -555 m (R. Huff, Based on Bamber et al. 2001)

Accumulation and Ablation

  • Area of net accumulation: 1.472 x 106 km2 (Benson, 1962)
  • Area with net ablation: 0.255 x 106 km2 (Benson, 1962)
  • Total accumulation: 516 km3 y-1 (Ohmura et al. 1999)
  • Total melt ablation: 347 km3 y-1 (Ohmura et al. 1999)
    • of which 244 km3 y-1 drains from the ablation area and the remaining (103 km3 y-1) from the accumulation area.
  • Net accumulation 271 x 1012 kg/yr (Ohmura et al. 1999)

Bibliography

  • Abe-Ouchi, Ayako, H. Blatter and A. Ohmura. 1994. How does the Greenland ice sheet geometry remember the ice age? Global and Planetary Change 9(1--2), Pages 133-142.
  • Bamber, J. L., R. L. Layberry, S. P. Gogineni, A new ice thickness and bedrock data set for the Greenland ice sheet, 1, Measurement, data reduction, and errors, J. Geophys. Res., 106(D24), 33773-33780, 2001.
  • Ekholm, S., A full coverage, high-resolution, topographic model of Greenland, computed from a variety of digital elevation data, J. Geophys. Res., B10, 21961-21972, 1996.
  • Ekholm, S. K. Keller, J.L. Bamber, S. P. Gogineni, Unusual surface morphology from digital elevation models of the Greenland ice sheet, Geophys. Res. Lett., 25 , 3623-3626, 1998 [5]
  • Kargel, J. S., Ahlstrøm, A. P., Alley, R. B., Bamber, J. L., Benham, T. J., Box, J. E., Chen, C., Christoffersen, P., Citterio, M., Cogley, J. G., Jiskoot, H., Leonard, G. J., Morin, P., Scambos, T., Sheldon, T., and Willis, I.: Brief communication Greenland's shrinking ice cover: "fast times" but not that fast, The Cryosphere, 6, 533-537, doi:10.5194/tc-6-533-2012, 2012. open access
  • Ohmura, A., Blatter, H., ETH Greenland Expedition, Progress Report No. 1, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, pp. 9-16, 1991.
  • Ohmura, A., Calanca, P., Wild, M. and Anklin, M., Precipitation, accumulation, and mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet, Zeitschrift für Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie, 35, 1, 1-20, 1999.
  • R. Huff (russell.huff@colorado.edu)
  • Souchez, R. 1997. The buildup of the ice sheet in central Greenland. Journal of Geophysical Research, 102, 26317-26323.
  • Thomas, R., Ice Sheets, Atlas of Satellite Observations Related to Global Change, R.J. Gurney, J.L. Foster, and C.L. Parkinson, (eds.), Cambridge Univ. Press, pp. 385-400, 1993.
  • Warrick R.A., C. Le Provost, M.F. Meier, J. Oerlemans, and P.L. Woodworth, Changes in Sea Level, Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change, Cambridge Univ. Press, pp. 358-405, 1996.

Find

Browse
Main page
Community portal
Current events
Recent changes
Random page
Help
Edit
View source
Editing help
This page
Discuss this page
New section
Printable version
Context
Page history
What links here
Related changes
My pages
Log in / create account
Special pages
New pages
File list
Statistics
More...