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.
investigations brought to light the increasing number of near-surface ice
layers within the snow of Greenland. These ice layers impede the downward
movement of meltwater through the snow. The meltwater then initiate lateral
movement towards the ice sheet margin along the slope of the ice layers’
surface. The lateral movement of the meltwater, enhanced by growing ice layers,
eventually leads to runoff from regions that did not traditionally participate
to the ice sheet runoff. Nevertheless all the current snow model are 1D model
and do not assume lateral movement of meltwater.
In this project, the student
will be in charge of updating an existing 1D firn model into a 2D model and to
apply it on at a weather station site in Western Greenland. This improvement of
the firn model can be, in the long term, applied in climate models that
simulate the Greenland ice sheet mass loss and thereby reduce the uncertainty
that applies to future prediction of sea level contribution of the ice sheet.
Good skills in Matlab or Python