Greenland’s melting ice sheet has in recent years contributed with about 26 percent to the global sea-level rise according to published calculations, but how different glaciers are affected by climate change differs. Research from the Ryder Expedition with the icebreaker Oden in 2019, shows that a relatively shallow formation in the seabed in front of one of North Greenland’s largest glaciers, reduces the amount of warmer Atlantic waters that reach the glacier and melt it from below.
The melting of the sea ice in the Arctic and the faster melting of Greenland’s ice cover are two prominent environmental changes that could accelerate sea level rise in the future. Researchers are therefore working on a broad front to better understand the mechanisms behind the melting ice and what consequences it will have.
07 Jan 2020 “One of the most successful expeditions”
The Ryder 2019 Expedition with Swedish icebreaker Oden took place from early August to mid-September 2019 and included marine as well as land-based research. The overall scientific goal was to gain a better understanding of how climate affects the sensitive high Arctic environment. Chief Scientists at the Ryder expedition were Martin Jakobsson and Larry Mayer. Both were more than pleased with the expedition, where they managed to get to previously unexplored areas.
Fredrik Dalerum, Docent in Ecology at the Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, leads a research group that participated in this summer’s expedition with the icebreaker Oden to the Ryder Glacier in northwestern Greenland. In addition to Fredrik, the group also consists of Karin Norén, Associate professor, and Johannes Måsviken, PhD student, all at the same department. In this research project, they study how Arctic species and ecosystems are affected by climate change.
Glaciers that terminate where there is water, such as fjords or open coastal waters, lose mass through so-called frontal ablation, which is the common name for the processes of iceberg calving and melt below the water surface. During the recent expedition with the icebreaker Oden to the Ryder Glacier in northern Greenland, researchers investigated frontal ablation with the help of time-lapse photography and LoTUS buoys.
The rising temperature in recent years in the Arctic is causing sea ice and glaciers to melt at an ever-faster rate. The melting of the ice sheet in Greenland increases the inflow of meltwater into Greenland’s fjords and coastal water, with physical and geochemical effects on the fjord systems. This can lead to increased acidification of the Arctic Ocean, which can have a negative impact on the ecosystem and the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide.
21 Oct 2019 “We will see ground-breaking discoveries”
Christian Stranne is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University. He was one of the scientists on the Ryder 2019 Expedition to northern Greenland with the icebreaker Oden between August 5 and September 12. The purpose was to study the local environment where the Ryder Glacier meets the ocean and to learn more about outlet glaciers and how they can influence sea levels in a changing climate.