Johansson, AM; Jansson, P; Brown, IA (2013). Spatial and temporal variations in lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet. JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY, 476, 314-320.
Surface lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet provide temporary storage for meltwater that influences both the surface and basal water fluxes. Thus, to understand the effects of variations in surface melt on ice sheet dynamics it is necessary to understand the surface hydrology. We have used satellite imagery, acquired at 5-day intervals, to map lake initiation and cessation on two sub-sections on the south west Greenland Ice Sheet over three melt seasons (2007-2009). We observe that lake initiation is closely tied to a threshold energy input of approximately 40 +/- 18.5 positive-degree-days. This applies to all studied melt seasons, regardless of evolution and melting index anomalies. Lake longevity averages 24 days with little variation between different melt seasons. Our observed median lake area is larger than previously reported. Approximately 50% of all lakes have a life span of < 10 d. Cessation of identified lakes is caused by two processes: drainage during the melt season (88% - 2007, 78% - 2008 and 88% - 2009) and freeze-up at the end of the season (12% - 2007,22% - 2008 and 12% - 2009). Inclusion of the energy needed for lake initiation and number of lakes that freeze up at the end of the season into supra-glacial lake models will add further insight into the hydrological system dynamics. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.