Understanding Greenlandís Coupled Ice Sheet-Atmosphere-Ocean system: Recent Progress

††††† Dr. Gordon Hamilton, University of Maine


About half of Greenlandís increased rate of mass loss over the last decade is attributed to the retreat and acceleration of many of the ice sheetís large outlet glaciers. The trigger for observed changes in glacier dynamics is not fully understood, but mounting evidence is pointing to the likelihood of oceanic forcing. Outlet glaciers terminate in deep glacial fjords where ice is in direct contact with relatively warm ocean waters, and the widespread, synchronous acceleration and thinning of many outlet glaciers coincided with a warming of subsurface waters in the North Atlantic subpolar gyre. This presentation will summarize the last decade of dynamic change in Greenland and review the observational evidence for an oceanic trigger, describe some of the impacts, and will highlight key outstanding questions requiring coordinated interdisciplinary research.