21 Oct 2021

21 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

The Greenland Firn Compaction Verification and Reconnaissance (FirnCover) Dataset, 2013–2019

Michael J. MacFerrin1, C. Max Stevens2,3,4, Baptiste Vandecrux5, Edwin D. Waddington2, and Waleed Abdalati1 Michael J. MacFerrin et al.
  • 1Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 2Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • 3NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 4Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • 5Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract. Assessing changes in the density of snow and firn is vital to convert volume changes into mass changes on glaciers and ice sheets. Firn models simulate this process but typically rely upon steady-state assumptions and geographically and temporally limited sets of field measurements for validation. Given rapid changes recently observed in Greenland’s surface mass balance, a contemporary dataset measuring firn compaction in a range of climate zones across the Greenland ice sheet’s accumulation zone is needed. To fill this need, the Firn Compaction Verification and Reconnaissance (FirnCover) dataset comprises daily measurements from 50 strainmeters installed in boreholes at eight sites on the Greenland ice sheet between 2013 and 2019. The dataset also includes daily records of two-meter air temperature, snow height, and snow temperature from each station. The majority of the FirnCover stations were installed in close proximity to automated weather stations that measure a wider suite of meteorological measurements, allowing the user access to auxiliary datasets for model validation studies using FirnCover data. The dataset can be found here: (MacFerrin et al., 2021). 

Michael J. MacFerrin et al.

Status: open (until 16 Dec 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Review of MacFerrin et al.', Ian McDowell, 08 Nov 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2021-274', Joel Harper, 14 Nov 2021 reply
  • RC3: 'Review of MacFerrin et al. (essd-2021-274)', Megan Thompson-Munson, 15 Nov 2021 reply

Michael J. MacFerrin et al.

Data sets

The Greenland Firn Compaction Verification and Reconnaissance (FirnCover) Dataset, 2013-2019 MacFerrin, M., Stevens, C. M., Vandecrux, B.

Michael J. MacFerrin et al.


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Short summary
The vast majority of Greenland ice sheet's surface is covered by pluriannual snow, also called firn, that accumulates year after year and is compressed into glacial ice. The thickness of the firn layer changes through time and responds to the surface climate. We present continuous measurement of the firn compaction at various depth ranges for eight sites. The dataset will help to evaluate firn models, interpret ice cores and convert remotely sensed ice sheet surface height change to mass loss.