The Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) extends around 600 km from its onset in the interior of Greenland to the coast. Several maps of surface velocity and topography in Greenland exist, but accuracy is limited due to the lack of validation data. Here we present results from a 5-year GPS survey in an interior section of NEGIS. We use the data to assess a list of satellite-derived ice velocity and surface elevation products and discuss the implications for the ice stream flow in the area.
Surface velocity of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS): assessment of interior velocities derived from satellite data by GPS
The Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) extends around 600 km upstream from the coast to its onset near the ice divide in interior Greenland. Several maps of surface velocity and topography of interior Greenland exist, but their accuracy is not well constrained by in situ observations. Here we present the results from a GPS mapping of surface velocity in an area located approximately 150 km from the ice divide near the East Greenland Ice-core Project (EastGRIP) deep-drilling site. A GPS strain net consisting of 63 poles was established and observed over the years 2015–2019. The strain net covers an area of 35 km by 40 km, including both shear margins. The ice flows with a uniform surface speed of approximately 55 m a−1 within a central flow band with longitudinal and transverse strain rates on the order of 10−4 a−1 and increasing by an order of magnitude in the shear margins. We compare the GPS results to the Arctic Digital Elevation Model and a list of satellite-derived surface velocity products in order to evaluate these products. For each velocity product, we determine the bias in and precision of the velocity compared to the GPS observations, as well as the smoothing of the velocity products needed to obtain optimal precision. The best products have a bias and a precision of ∼0.5 m a−1. We combine the GPS results with satellite-derived products and show that organized patterns in flow and topography emerge in NEGIS when the surface velocity exceeds approximately 55 m a−1 and are related to bedrock topography.