Warming of the polar water layer in Disko Bay and potential impact on Jakobshavn Isbrae

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • A number of recent studies have shown enhanced retreat of tidewater glaciers over much of southern and western Greenland. One of the fastest retreats has occurred at Jakobshavn Isbrae, with the rapid retreat linked to the arrival of relatively warm and saline Irminger water along the west coast of Greenland. Similar links to changes in ocean water masses on the coastal shelf of Greenland were also seen on the east coast. This study presents hydrographic data from Disko Bay, additionally revealing that there was also a significant warming of the cold polar water entering Disko Bay from the mid-to-late 1990s onward. This layer, which lies at a depth of ~30–200 m, warmed by 1°–2°C. The heat content of the polar water layer increased by a factor of 3.6 for the post-1997 period compared to the period prior to 1990. The heat content in the west Greenland Irminger water layer between the same periods increased only by a factor of 2, but contained more total heat. The authors suggest that the changes in the polar water layer are related to circulation changes in Baffin Bay.

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    Article (Published)
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  • License
    © 2013 American Meteorological Society
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Myers, P., and Ribergaard, M. (2013). Warming of the polar water layer in Disko Bay and potential impact on Jakobshavn Isbrae. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 43(12), 2629-2640.
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