Project

RIS-ID

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Calving Rates and Impact on Sea Level (CRIOS)

One of the greatest uncertainties surrounding development of the Arctic regions concerns the way that glaciers in Greenland and the Arctic islands will respond to continued climatic warming. Currently about half of Greenland’s ice losses are through the release of icebergs into the ocean (calving), rather than by surface melt. Any increase in calv

Project date

Starts
2012-04-01
Ends
2017-04-30

Project status

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Project type

  • field work
  • arctic field grant (afg)

Discipline

  • cryosphere

Project Keywords

  • cryosphere / glaciers/ice sheets / icebergs

Fieldwork information

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Summary

One of the greatest uncertainties surrounding development of the Arctic regions concerns the way that glaciers in Greenland and the Arctic islands will respond to continued climatic warming. Currently about half of Greenland’s ice losses are through the release of icebergs into the ocean (calving), rather than by surface melt. Any increase in calving rates will have an immediate impact on sea level, while changes in the volume and trajectory of floating icebergs could significantly affect shipping and ocean ecosystems. Despite this, scientists currently have no reliable ways of representing calving processes within the ice sheet models that are used to forecast environmental change. The CRIOS project will fill this major gap in our ability to reliably forecast the impacts of global and regional climate change. CRIOS will deliver to the international climate science community new, robust and efficient iceberg calving modules that can be integrated into the earth system models used to forecast future environmental change. Our approach is to build on calving models we have recently pioneered, and which are gaining widespread use and acclaim in the glaciological community. In this project we will develop new components to these models to better represent core physics. To hone the predictive reliability of these models we will undertake a focused program of field study in order to obtain a data set that can fully constrain model parameters. Our aim is to generate a set of models with which we can demonstrate the key underlying controls on iceberg calving, and reliably simulate calving behaviour as an integrated part of an ice sheet model. These models will then be set in a form in which they can be interfaced with many of the current generation of ice sheet models, that themselves form part of wider Earth System modeling suites. CRIOS builds upon the international reputation of UNIS as a centre for state-of-the-art glaciological research and teaching. The core team has a strong track record of pioneering research in glacier science, and has well-established links with other workers in the field. CRIOS will provide an opportunity for the best and brightest young scientists in the field to work on one of the most important problems in earth science. Our outreach program will ensure that the results of the research are communicated to the broader public in a clear, accurate, and accessible way.

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