The mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet contributes to
about 20% of the current sea level rise. Most of this loss stems from increased
melting of the snow and ice at the surface of the ice sheet. It is traditionally
thought that most of the melt is produced at lower elevation on the ice sheet and
that at higher altitudes the snow could retain any melt like a sponge and
prevent meltwater from ending up in the ocean.
Recent field investigations
brought to light massive near-surface ice slabs that decrease the ability of
snow to retain meltwater. These ice slabs are consequences of the recent
climate warming but their formation is not fully understood.
In this project,
the student will work with weather station data and a snow model to explain the
formation of ice slab at a site in Western Greenland. The results of the study
will increase our understanding about ice slabs which is important for the
accuracy of the predictions of sea level rise from the Greenland ice sheet.
Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland