Mean sand flux in cores ER11, ER07 and ER13, Sermilik Fjord, Greenland


During the early 2000s the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced the largest ice-mass loss of the instrumental record, largely as a result of the acceleration, thinning and retreat of large outlet glaciers in West and southeast Greenland. The quasi-simultaneous change in the glaciers suggests a common climate forcing. Increasing air and ocean temperatures have been indicated as potential triggers. Here, we present a record of calving activity of Helheim Glacier, East Greenland, that extends back to about AD 1890, based on an analysis of sedimentary deposits from Sermilik Fjord, where Helheim Glacier terminates. Specifically, we use the annual deposition of and grains as a proxy for iceberg discharge. Our record reveals large fluctuations in calving rates, but the present high rate was reproduced only in the 1930s. A comparison with climate indices indicates that high calving activity coincides with a relatively strong influence of Atlantic water and a lower influence of polar water on the shelf off Greenland, as well as with warm summers and the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. Our analysis provides evidence that Helheim Glacier responds to short-term fluctuations of large-scale oceanic and atmospheric conditions, on timescales of 3-10 years.

Related Identifier
Metadata Access
Creator Andresen, Camilla S
Publisher PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
Publication Year 2012
Funding Reference Seventh Framework Programme, 243908
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported;
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 196 data points
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (-37.860 LON, 66.013 LAT); Sermilik Fjord, SE Greenland