Departmental Bulletin Paper Glacier/ocean interactions in Greenland and their impact on the climate system

Straneo, Fiammetta

75pp.67 - 75 , 2017-03-31 , 低温科学第75巻編集委員会
Rapid mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet has increased interest in glacier/ocean interactions for two reasons. First, increased submarine melting of marine terminating glaciers is a likely trigger of the observed dynamic ice loss. Second, the increased freshwater discharge from Greenland has the potential to affect the regional and large-scale ocean circulation. While extensive progress has been made, over the last decade, in understanding glacier/ocean exchanges of heat and freshwater in Greenlandʼs glacial fjords, an in-depth knowledge of these exchanges is hindered by the models’ inability to resolve the wide range of dynamical scales involved and by the fact that observations that can only provide a partial description because of the intrinsic challenges of working at the glacier margins. Specifically, major challenges remain to understand the dynamics in the near-ice zone, which controls submarine melting and iceberg calving, and the different drivers of the fjord circulation that delivers heat to the glacier. On the ocean side, much progress has been made in showing how Greenlandʼs meltwaters are exported into the ocean in the form of highly diluted glacially modified waters whose properties depend on the details of the glacier/ocean/iceberg interaction. Major challenges remain, however, to parameterize these processes in order to provide appropriate boundary conditions to ocean/climate models.

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