Project Background: Changing conditions in Greenland’s northwest glaciers over the last decade have led to a range of questions about water temperature and circulation patterns in the fjords where ocean water meets the glacial fronts.
Arctic ThawMeasuring Change
Team: Jim Cochran, Tim Creyts, Indrani Das
Purpose: Glacier and Climate Research
Start Date: March 30, 2010
The Arctic is changing with a rapidity that has amazed scientists. The Greenland ice sheet is shrinking, sending over 48 cubic miles a year of ice streaming into the oceans, while Arctic sea ice cover continues to track below average. These changes will have significant effects regionally and globally. Scientists from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are flying over the region on a NASA-led mission called Operation IceBridge to understand what is happening on and below the ice.
If you look carefully at the picture below you will see a small shadow of our plane completely encircled in a rainbow. This optical phenomenon, called a “glory,” can develop when the plane flies directly between the sun and a cloud below. Flying over the ice sheet in the far northeast of Greenland we saw [...]
Evidence of the retreat of glaciers since the last glacial maximum (check), flying over sites of ancient Inuit, Norse and present day settlements (check), and a personal recollection of my own past in this location (check).
Greenland is surrounded by a ring of high mountains that work like fingers encircling the ice to hold it in place. Ice sliding from between these “fingers” into the surrounding waters results in a major human impact – Sea Level Rise.
To Norse mythology Midgard is a place that is impassable, surrounded by a world of ocean. Thor, the hammer-wielding warrior god often traveled across to Midgard, and one imagines evidence of his fiery power remains in the highly charged rocks that are left behind. Magnetized rocks containing Thor’s energy and the fiery touch of his [...]
Even in idyllic Greenland some days start to feel like the movie “Groundhog Day”, however the turn of events today broke that thread. Over our two weeks in Kangerlussuaq we have ended our evenings with a science and weather report, and the hope of flying the program over both coasts. Each morning we wake up, [...]
I had been warned of Geikie. “If they fly to Geikie get on that flight” I had been told, but nothing more.
Over 100,000 years of Arctic climate data has been linked in the last two days of Ice Bridge missions. When you see the names DYE2, EGIG, GRIP, Ice Bridge and MABEL you view the elite list of Arctic science projects that deliver(ed) groundbreaking climate information through the last 50 years, and if all goes as [...]
Time takes on a new meaning in the field. Every moment is compressed in order to gain maximum yield. Applying human accounting, field time is limited by available resources, personnel, and funds, while using nature’s accounting the limits shift to windows of weather, and seasonality for ice phenomena. In the field both human and nature [...]