Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Glacier melting rates, sea ice variability and ocean circulation in the Young Sound region, East Greenland

2014.03.03 | Egon Randa Frandsen

Date Tue 08 Jul Tue 05 Aug
Time 00:00    00:00
Location Daneborg, N.E. Greenland

The changing climate has resulted in a significant increase in melting rates of the Greenland ice sheet as well as a reduction of sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean. However, information on the variability of sea ice is limited to the satellite period (i.e. ca 30 years), and ice sheet melting rates is known from an even shorter period. This hampers our understanding of the natural, background state of the climate and environment in the East Greenland region. In fact we do not know if the current melting rates are in fact much higher than the normal state, and we also lack information on the onset of the current change. 

The current project aims at reconstructing past variabilityand magnitude of glacier melting and fjord sea ice in the Young Sound region. The study will be based on sediment cores taken from the fjord bottom. These cores will be studied for their sediment composition, where sediment structures and grain size combined with trace elements (XRF core scanning) will show icer sheet melting rates, which presumed largest glacier influx close to the glacier front and decrease out through the fjord. Further analyses will include diatoms which will also illustrate variability in meltwater and temperature of the surface waters as well as benthic foraminifera that may be used to test for influx of ocean water as a bottom water into the fjord. The temperature of these bottom waters are expected to have a major impact on glacier melting rates. 

A pilot study of cores taken in summer 2013 showed that good quality sediment seried can be obtained and during the field work in 2014 we wish to collect a series of cores from close to the glacier front and out through the fjord.

PI: Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz

Arctic Research Centre, Environment, climate and energy