Mapping Greenland's mass loss in space and time

Christopher Harig, Frederik Jozef Simons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The melting of polar ice sheets is a major contributor to global sea-level rise. Early estimates of the mass lost from the Greenland ice cap, based on satellite gravity data collected by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, have widely varied. Although the continentally and decadally averaged estimated trends have now more or less converged, to this date, there has been little clarity on the detailed spatial distribution of Greenland's mass loss and how the geographical pattern has varied on relatively shorter time scales. Here, we present a spatially and temporally resolved estimation of the ice mass change over Greenland between April of 2002 and August of 2011. Although the total mass loss trend has remained linear, actively changing areas of mass loss were concentrated on the southeastern and northwestern coasts, with ice mass in the center of Greenland steadily increasing over the decade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19934-19937
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 4 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Climate change
  • Ice melt
  • Spatiospectral localization
  • Time-variable gravity


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