Greenland surface mass-balance observations from the ice-sheet ablation area and local glaciers

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Horst Machguth
  • Henrik Thomsen
  • Anker Weidick
  • Andreas P. Ahlstrøm
  • Jakob Abermann
  • Morten Andersen
  • Signe Andersen
  • Jason Box
  • Roger Braithwaite
  • Carl Egede Bøggild
  • Michele Citterio
  • Poul Clement
  • William Colgan
  • Robert Fausto
  • Karin Gleie
  • Stefanie Gluber
  • Bernhard Hynek
  • Niels T. Knudsen
  • Signe Hillerup Larsen
  • Sebastian Mernild
  • Johannes Oerlemans
  • Hans Oerter
  • Ole Olesen
  • C .J. P. Paul Smeets
  • Konrad Steffen
  • Manfred Stober
  • Shin Sugiyama
  • Dirk van As
  • Michiel van den Broeke
  • Roderik S.W. van de Wal
Glacier surface mass-balance measurements on Greenland started more than a century ago, but no compilation exists of the observations from the ablation area of the ice sheet and local glaciers. Such data could be used in the evaluation of modelled surface mass balance, or to document changes in glacier melt independently from model output. Here, we present a comprehensive database of Greenland glacier surface mass-balance observations from the ablation area of the ice sheet and local glaciers. The database spans the 123 a from 1892 to 2015, contains a total of ~3000 measurements from 46 sites, and is openly accessible through the PROMICE web portal ( For each measurement we provide X, Y and Z coordinates, starting and ending dates as well as quality flags. We give sources for each entry and for all metadata. Two thirds of the data were collected from grey literature and unpublished archive documents. Roughly 60% of the measurements were performed by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS, previously GGU). The data cover all regions of Greenland except for the southernmost part of the east coast, but also emphasize the importance of long-term time series of which there are only two exceeding 20 a. We use the data to analyse uncertainties in point measurements of surface mass balance, as well as to estimate surface mass-balance profiles for most regions of Greenland.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Issue number235
Pages (from-to)861-887
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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