New proglacial meteorology and river stage observations from Inglefield Land and Pituffik, NW Greenland
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New proglacial meteorology and river stage observations from Inglefield Land and Pituffik, NW Greenland

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  • Journal Title:
    Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems
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  • Description:
    Meltwater runoff from the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is an important contributor to global sea level rise, but substantial uncertainty exists in its measurement and prediction. Common approaches for estimating ice sheet runoff are in situ gauging of proglacial rivers draining the ice sheet and surface mass balance (SMB) modeling. To obtain hydrological and meteorological data sets suitable for both runoff stage characterization and, pending the establishment of stage–discharge curves, SMB model evaluation, we established an automated weather station (AWS) and a cluster of traditional and experimental river stage sensors on the Minturn River, the largest proglacial river draining Inglefield Land, NW Greenland. Secondary installations measuring river stage were installed in the Fox Canyon River and North River at Pituffik Space Base, NW Greenland. Proglacial runoff at these sites is dominated by supraglacial processes only, uniquely advantaging them for SMB studies. The three installations provide rare hydrological time series and an opportunity to evaluate experimental measurements of river stage from a harsh, little-studied polar region. The installed instruments include submerged vented and non-vented pressure transducers, a bubbler sensor, experimental bank-mounted laser rangefinders, and time-lapse cameras. The first 3 years of observations (2019 to 2021) from these stations indicate (a) a meltwater runoff season from late June to late August/early September that is roughly synchronous throughout the region; (b) the early onset (∼ 23 June to 8 July) of a strong diurnal runoff signal in 2019 and 2020, suggesting minimal meltwater storage in snow and/or firn; (c) 1 d lagged air temperature that displays the strongest correlation with river stage; (d) river stage that correlates more strongly with ablation zone albedo than with net radiation; and (e) the late-summer rain-on-ice events appear to trigger the region's sharpest and largest floods. The new gauging stations provide valuable in situ hydrological observations that are freely available through the PROMICE network (https://promice.org/weather-stations/, last access: 14 September 2023).
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    Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems, 12(2), 215-230
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  • ISSN:
    2193-0864
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    CC BY
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    Library
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