CR
Cryospheric Sciences

Greenland

Camp Century re-visited: sediment from the bottom of a Cold War ice core reveals Greenland’s warm past

Camp Century re-visited: sediment from the bottom of a Cold War ice core reveals Greenland’s warm past

A Cold War nuclear-powered military base inside the Greenland Ice Sheet sounds like science fiction, but the science that came out of this U.S. army installation was anything but fiction. In last week’s EGU CR blog post, Paul Bierman and Amanda Schmidt discussed the advances made by the U.S. military in operating across the Greenland Ice Sheet that culminated in the establishment of Camp Century i ...[Read More]

Living IN the Greenland ice sheet: the story of Sites I and II, Camp Century’s older, smaller siblings

Living IN the Greenland ice sheet: the story of Sites I and II, Camp Century’s older, smaller siblings

Greenland, cold as it is, was appropriately front and center in the Cold War. Strategically placed between Europe and North America, the United States sought to maintain and enhance its position on the island so that American missiles and bombers were in striking range of many Soviet targets. Soviet bombers and missiles coming toward North America would streak over Greenland making early warning c ...[Read More]

CryoAdventures – Three months in Nuuk, the world’s northernmost capital!

Dark sky with greenish Aurora Borealis.

I have just returned from nearly three months in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, where I was doing my PhD placement at Asiaq Greenland Survey. Read on to find out what science I got up to… everything from mapping mountain glacier snowline change to avalanches! How do you map glacier snowline evolution? During my PhD research placement, I was working at Asiaq Greenland Survey in their Hydrolo ...[Read More]

Re-discovering the British North Greenland Expedition 1952-54

Re-discovering the British North Greenland Expedition 1952-54

How did we (nearly) all forget about, or simply overlook, a large-scale two-year long mid-20th Century scientific expedition to the northern Greenland Ice Sheet? Particularly an expedition that kick-started some significant glaciological and geophysical careers, developed large-scale polar logistical capabilities, traversed the ice sheet, acquired some novel and critical data, and asked some big r ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Icebergs increase heat flux to glacier

Image of the Week – Icebergs increase heat flux to glacier

Icebergs are ubiquitous in Greenland’s fjords, melting and releasing freshwater as they float towards the open ocean. The amount of freshwater released from these icebergs can be vast – the equivalent of around 50,000 Olympic swimming pools per day in some fjords. New research reveals that this freshwater causes fjord currents to speed-up, which can actually increase the amount of heat delivered t ...[Read More]

Did you know… that you can read the edge of Greenland’s ice as an open book?

Did you know… that you can read the edge of Greenland’s ice as an open book?

Scientists struggle to get ice samples from the depths of glaciers where fundamental pieces of information about the climate of Earth are stored. But in many places around the periphery of the Greenland Ice Sheet, you don’t need to drill a deep ice core to obtain ancient ice, you can simply walk across the ice sheet’s margin and look at the layered ice surface. There you can read the ice as though ...[Read More]

The foot of a glaciated mammoth? No… A glacier!

The foot of a glaciated mammoth? No… A glacier!

Ice is a viscous fluid: it flows but slowly, reaching up to 100 m/yr for the fastest flowing ice. That’s 0.00001 km/hr, so you’d never see it with the naked eye. But what influences the morphology of the glaciers is the shape of the topography that lies underneath them. Elephant Foot Glacier, shown above, aptly named for its shape, is a textbook-example of a piedmont glacier. These types of glacie ...[Read More]

Water plumes are tickling the Greenland Ice Sheet

Water plumes are tickling the Greenland Ice Sheet

7 meters of sea-level rise – what you would get if the whole Greenland Ice Sheet melted. But the tricky question is: how much of this ice will be melted in the next decades, and how fast will it occur? This piece of information is critical in order to plan for present and future populations living in coastline areas, all around the world. How much and how fast can the Greenland Ice Sheet melt ? In ...[Read More]

Cryo History – How airborne glaciologists measured the movement of glaciers before the satellite era

Recent work published in my department at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) focused on solid ice discharge into the ocean from the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1986 to 2017 (Mankoff et al. 2019). Solid ice discharge is the ice that is lost from a glacier as it flows towards the coast and eventually breaks off as icebergs into the ocean (i.e. calving). Solid ice discharge is an impo ...[Read More]

Cryo-adventures – Behind the scenes of cryo-fieldwork

Cryo-adventures – Behind the scenes of cryo-fieldwork

As the Arctic is warming faster than the global average, Arctic glaciers are rapidly melting. My research is about the fate of glacial organic carbon when the ice containing it melts. To investigate these processes, I travelled to several glaciers, an activity full of challenges… and rewards! My research Glacier ice covers about 11% of Earth’s land surface, and contains within it a globally ...[Read More]