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Statistical EOF analysis of spatiotemporal glacier mass-balance variability: a case study of Mittivakkat Gletscher, SE Greenland

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  • Sebastian H. Mernild, Universidad de Magallanes, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
  • ,
  • Andrew P. Beckerman, University of Sheffield, Sheffield
  • ,
  • Niels Tvis Knudsen
  • Bent Hasholt, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Jacob C. Yde, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

An Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) variance analysis was performed to map in detail the spatiotemporal variability in individual stake mass-balances (ba) on Mittivakkat Gletscher (MG) – in a region where at present five out of ~20.000 glaciers have mass-balance observations. The EOF analysis suggested that observed ba was summarized by two modes: EOF1 and EOF2 represented 80% (significant) and 6% (insignificant) of the explained variance, respectively. EOF1 captured a decline in ba that was uniformly distributed in space at all stakes. The decline was correlated with albedo observations and air temperature observations from nearby stations. EOF2, however, described variations in ba that were heterogeneously distributed among stakes and associated with local slope and aspect. Low elevation stakes (~<400 m a.s.l.) showed relatively negative (out of phase) correlation and higher elevated stakes relatively positive (in phase) eigenvector correlation values with EOF2. Such relatively negative and positive eigenvector correlation values were present where the constituted of exposed glacier ice or snow cover, respectively. The results from this study show how EOF analyses can provide information on spatiotemporal patterns of glacier mass-balance. Understanding such detailed variabilities in mass-balance on a Greenlandic glacier is of interest because a fifth of the Arctic contribution from glaciers and ice caps to sea-level rise originates from Greenland.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeografisk Tidsskrift - Danish Journal of Geography
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Empirical Orthogonal Function analysis, Greenland, mass-balance stakes, Mittivakkat Gletscher, observations

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