Surface Expression of Basal and Englacial Features, Properties, and Processes of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Michael Cooper*, Tom Jordan, Martin Siegert, Jonathan Bamber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

1 Citation (Scopus)
210 Downloads (Pure)


Radar-sounding surveys measuring ice thickness in Greenland have enabled an increasingly ‘complete’ knowledge of basal topography and glaciological processes. Where such observations are spatially limited, bed elevation has been interpolated through mass conservation or kriging. Ordinary kriging fails to resolve anisotropy in bed geometry, however, leaving complex topography misrepresented in elevation models of the ice-sheet bed. Here, we demonstrate the potential of new high-resolution (≤ 5 m) surface topography data (ArcticDEM) to provide enhanced insight into basal and englacial geometry and processes. Notable surface features, quantified via residual surface elevation (RSE), are observed coincident with documented subglacial channels, and new, smaller-scale tributaries (< 2,000 m in width) and valley-like structures are clearly identified. RSE also allows the extent of basal ice units to be mapped, which in conjunction with radar data indicate that they act as ‘false bottoms’, likely due to a rheological contrast in the ice column
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-793
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2019


  • Greenland ice sheet
  • subglacial
  • subsurface
  • englacial
  • decoupling
  • basal units
  • Greenland

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    Basal Properties of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Bamber, J. L.


    Project: Research

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