Science Meetings

Drifters Deliver Insight into Ocean-Glacier Interactions in a Heavily Ice-Covered Greenland Fjord
Hauri, C., Truffer, M., Winsor, P., Dobbins, E.L., and Lennert, K. (26-Feb-14)

To study the properties and circulation of the surface layer in Gotdthåbsfjord, western Greenland, and assess the drivers of the recent glacial acceleration and retreat, we deployed ice-reinforced satellite-tracked drifters in heavily ice-covered waters close to the glacier-ocean interface of the tidal outlet glacier Kangiata Nunata Semia. The drifters were equipped with temperature and salinity recorders located at 0, 7 and 15 m, and with a drogue at 20-m depth. Observations show a wide range of surface salinities, from about 2 in the inner fjord to 20 and 33 in the main branch and middle fjord system respectively. The upper 7 m of the inner fjord were heavily stratified, with differences of up to 25 salinity units. This stratification breaks down in wider areas of the fjord, particularly in the main and middle branch, where surface temperatures are up to 6°C higher than elsewhere, indicating local influence of bathymetry and wind forcing on the along-fjord temperature gradient.