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Towards quantifying the glacial runoff signal in the freshwater input to Tyrolerfjord–Young Sound, NE Greenland

Citterio, Michele, Sejr, Mikael K., Langen, Peter L., Mottram, Ruth H., Abermann, Jakob, Hillerup Larsen, Signe, Skov, Kirstine, Lund, Magnus
Ambio 2017 v.46 no.Supplement 1 pp. 146-159
climate models, databases, freshwater, glaciers, monitoring, runoff, salinity, snowpack, summer, watersheds, Greenland
Terrestrial freshwater runoff strongly influences physical and biogeochemical processes at the fjord scale and can have global impacts when considered at the Greenland scale. We investigate the performance of the HIRHAM5 regional climate model over the catchments delivering freshwater to Tyrolerfjord and Young Sound by comparing to the unique Greenland Ecological Monitoring database of in situ observations from this region. Based on these findings, we estimate and discuss the fraction of runoff originating from glacierized and non-glacierized land delivered at the daily scale between 1996 and 2008. We find that glaciers contributed on average 50–80% of annual terrestrial runoff when considering different sections of Tyrolerfjord–Young Sound, but snowpack depletion on land and consequently runoff happens about one month earlier in the model than observed in the field. The temporal shift in the model is a likely explanation why summer surface salinity in the inner fjord did not correlate to modelled runoff.