Shelf-Basin Exchange near 79N Glacier and Zachariae Isstrom, North-East Greenland
Type of project
Ocean & fiord systems
Fieldwork / Study
Geolocation is 79.103222, -16.247175
Science / project plan
Science / project summary
The objectives of this RAPID project are to deploy an array of five moored ocean current, salinity, temperature, and two subsurface pressure sensors across the 200-400 m deep Norske Ore Trough in the summer of 2014 from aboard the R/V Polarstern, a German research icebreaker. The array will observe the circulation within this channel system at dynamically relevant time and space scales. Ultimately, the recovered data will be used to test the hypothesis that a clock-wise shelf circulation off north-east Greenland between 76N and 82N latitude provides warm Atlantic waters towards one of the last remaining stable floating ice-shelves in Greenland (Niog-halvfjerdsfjorden Gletscher called 79N Glacier) via a 20-40 km wide system of troughs. Degradation of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets is a major contributor to global sea level rise. One cause of the accelerating degradation of these ice sheets is believed to be the transport of heat from the continental slope to the face of tidewater glaciers. Models and qualitative arguments suggest that this transport is enhanced by cross-shelf channels that minimize mixing of the transported waters with cold, ambient shelf waters. This project is an attempt to observe the importance of such transport mechanisms. The funded activities support a nascent international collaboration. The resultant data set will add to both public and scientific debate related to climate change. Public outreach and engagement will be facilitated via http://IcySeas.org, a research blog established and maintained by the PI as part of NSF's "Science: Becoming the Messenger" program.