How will glaciers and ice sheets respond to climate change? This question is of great concern as human society faces the threat of accelerated sea level rise, altered ocean circulation and loss of freshwater supply. BPRC researchers studying glacier dynamics are developing and applying innovative methods for observing ongoing glacier change, through remote sensing and field measurements, and are using these observations to build quantitative models of ice flow. These models are then used to predict future changes to the Earth’s ice masses under likely climate change scenarios. This improved understanding will help the public make more informed decisions regarding infrastructure, energy and resources.
Research Group News
New 30 m DEM of the Greenland Ice Sheet and periphery available
As part of the NASA-funded Greenland Ice Mapping Project, we have produced a 30-m posting DEM by combining stereoscopic data from ASTER and SPOT-5 with AVHRR photoclinometry. All data are vertically and horizontally registered to average ICESat altimetry elevations from 2003-2009. This DEM is designed to serve as a benchmark dataset for data processing, elevation change detection and other uses. You can read more and obtain the data here.
Coverage of the new rift in the ice shelf of Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier published in EOS
It happened again, but this time it was caught it in the act. During the last week of September 2011 a large transverse rift developed across the floating terminus of West Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier, less than 5 years after its last large calving event in 2007. Pine Island Glacier's retreat has accelerated substantially in the last 2 decades, and it is now losing 50 gigatons per year of ice or roughly 25% of Antarctica's total annual contribution to sea level rise. The glacier's recent accelerated retreat is likely triggered by ocean warming and increased submarine melting. As such, it is of significant interest to glaciologists and heightened societal relevance. Read More
Paper on East Greenland outlet glacier changes published in The Cryosphere
A new paper looks at regional changes in marine-terminating glacier front position, thinning and speed along the portion of the central East Greenland coast that straddles the Denmark Strait, a crucial oceanographic transition zone. The pattern of glacier changes suggests that variability in ocean circulation is the dominant forcing of inter-annual changes, but that local effects, such as glacier surging, are also important. Read More