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Greenland supraglacial rivers during the extreme 2012 melt season

Laurence C. Smith1, Asa K. Rennermalm2, Carl J. Legleiter3, Alberto E. Behar4, Vena W. Chu1, Richard R. Forster5, Colin J. Gleason1, Adam LeWinter6, Samiah E. Moustafa2, Brandon T. Overstreet3, Lincoln H. Pitcher1, Marco Tedesco7, Kang Yang1
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UCLA, 2Rutgers, 3U. Wyoming, 4NASA JPL, 5U. Utah, 6CRREL, 7CUNY

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Greenland supraglacial rivers during the extreme 2012 melt season


Laurence C. Smith1, Asa K. Rennermalm2, Carl J. Legleiter3, Alberto E. Behar4, Vena W. Chu1, Richard R. Forster5, Colin J. Gleason1, Adam LeWinter6, Samiah E. Moustafa2, Brandon T. Overstreet3, Lincoln H. Pitcher1, Marco Tedesco7, Kang Yang1
1

UCLA, 2Rutgers, 3U. Wyoming, 4NASA JPL, 5U. Utah, 6CRREL, 7CUNY

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Simultaneious flooding in the Isortoq River [H31E-1162 Colin Gleason]

6/13/11

7/13/12

Ice margin melt insufficient to explain Watson River flooding


[C43C-0616 Asa Rennermalm]

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Acoustic Doppler Current Profile (ADCP) measurements for velocity, bathymetry, water surface slope, roughness coefficient

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Manual radar and field surveys of flow velocity, width, depth, slope, roughness coefficient

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Manual radar and field surveys of flow velocity, width, depth, EMPIRICAL HYDRAULICS slope, roughness coefficient [C43C-0618 Vena Chu]
Parameter Discharge (Q) Width (w) Avg depth (d) Avg surface velocity (v) Cross-sectional area (A) Wetted perimeter (P) Width/Depth Ratio (F) Hydraulic radius (R) m Units m3s-1 m m ms-1 m2 m Min 0.01 0.20 0.03 0.24 0.01 0.21 1.27 0.02 Mean 3.75 4.62 0.48 1.09 5.76 6.01 11.23 0.36 Max 28.78 19.06 1.950 2.59 29.00 31.14 42.17 1.63

Froude number (Fr)


Manning's resistance coefficient (n) Water surface slope (S) American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

0.06
0.01 0.001

0.89
0.14 0.032

3.12
1.28 0.088

Drone-boat measurements of water column spectra and attenuation (ASD), and depth (echo sounder)

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Sacrificial GPS drifters (3 velocity, 1 depth sounder)

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Sacrificial GPS drifters (3 velocity, 1 depth sounder)

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Sacrificial GPS drifters (3 velocity, 1 depth sounder)


Typical flow velocities ~ 0.5-2 m/s
Max 6.6 m/s with supercritical flow (Fr = 3.6)d super

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

32 WorldView-2 scenes acquired simultaneously with field campaigns (July 18-23)

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

(Yang and Smith, in press)


American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

[C43C-0619 Kang Yang]

(Yang and Smith, in press)


American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

For this July 18-23 WV2 mosaic:


5,514 km2 mapped with WV2 (~1100m to 1600m a.s.l.)

5,928 km total length blue-water rivers


Typical survival length scale ~10-20 km

596 actively flowing moulins


100% of mapped rivers terminate in moulins, including lateral breaches from all remaining lakes
American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Modeled potentiometric depressions - GIMP DEM


(Howat et al, 2012)

- basal topography
(Bamber et al, 2012)

C43C-0614 (Lincoln Pitcher)


C43C-0623 (Samiah Moustafa)
American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Can supraglacial water fluxes be estimated from space? - Universal supraglacial river
hydraulic geometry relationships holds promise using an empirical approach

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Can supraglacial river bathymetry be estimated from space?

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Can supraglacial river bathymetry be estimated from space?

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Conclusions & future work


Greenlands supraglacial rivers are large, extensive, and hydraulically efficient.

During July 18-23, 2012, these rivers were transporting large fluxes of meltwater over and into the ice sheet, with virtually no depression storage and 100% termination into moulins.
This observation, combined with proglacial discharge measurements at the ice edge, suggests that record terrestrial floods downstream received significant meltwater inputs from the ice sheet interior. Field spectral and hydraulic measurements hold promise for calibrating remote sensing WorldView-2 data for estimating supraglacial river fluxes. This goal, together with closing the water balance (from ADCP discharge measurements in the Isortoq and Watson rivers) are key future objectives.

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco

Supported by the NASA Cryosphere Program


Program Manager Thomas Wagner (grant NNX11AQ38G)

Poster session this afternoon: C43C-0614 C43C-0616 C43C-0618 C43C-0619 C43C-0623 Lincoln Pitcher Asa Rennermalm Vena Chu Kang Yang Samiah Moustafa

Logistics support: CH2MHill Polar Field Services KISS Air Greenland Special thanks to: Paul Morin (Polar Geospatial Center) Claire Porter (Polar Geospatial Center) Ian Howat (OSU) Jonathan Bamber (U. Bristol) Ian Joughin (U. Washington)

American Geophysical Union, 6 December 2012, San Francisco