Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New measurements shed light on the impact of water temperatures on glacier calving

01.07.2019

With the help of new temperature sensors, which are being developed in collaboration with KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology, the researchers have collected continuous time series of water temperatures from locations in close proximity to the glaciers Tunabreen and Kronebreen. The results show that subsurface water temperature exerts the greatest influence on the mass loss of the glaciers - but it is not as significant as previously thought.

"One of the greatest uncertainties surrounding future sea level rise is how glacier dynamics change when glaciers come into contact with warming waters. Our measurements and results can be used to improve numerical models which estimate future sea level rise" says Felicity Holmes, a PhD student at the Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, and lead author of the study.


Glacier in Svalbard.

Credit: Nina Kirchner/Stockholm University

Many glaciers in the polar regions are shrinking due to global warming, contributing to sea level rise. Glaciers which extend into water don't only lose mass through melting on the surface, but also through the loss of icebergs in a process called calving.

"Calving is a process which is not completely understood, but with the measurement technology that we used in Svalbard, we have a good opportunity to increase our knowledge of which factors interact when glaciers calve. A better understanding of calving processes also benefits prognoses of how glaciers in West Antarctica will react to warming waters" says Nina Kirchner, Associate professor in glaciology at the Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, and director of the Bolin Centre for climate research.

When warm water from the Atlantic intrudes into fjords where glaciers meet the ocean, calving rates increase. This is seen along the west coast of Svalbard. But, the lack of data in close proximity to glacier fronts has made it hard to clearly identify warm water as the cause, due to the fact that measurements taken further away often give an incorrect picture of the water masses that actually reach the glacier fronts. This can therefore lead to an over- or under- estimation of how much the ocean actually impacts calving glaciers.

The new datasets are the first taken within just a kilometre of the glacier fronts and therefore play an important role in increasing our understanding of the impact of subsurface temperatures along Svalbard's west coast.

"It is exciting to develop measurement technology in close co-operation with climate scientists - together we work to make the technology cope with the tough challenges that the polar environment places on underwater instruments" says Jakob Kuttenkeuler, Professor at the Maritime Robotics Laboratory at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).

"We are proud of the unique measurements that we could collect in close proximity to the glacier fronts over the course of a whole year - the measurement series is now openly available to other researchers to use" concludes Holmes.

###

The study is published in Scientific Reports and the whole article is available to read here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-45077-3

Felicity Holmes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-45077-3

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Welcome Committee for Comets
19.07.2019 | Technische Universität Braunschweig

nachricht Sea level rise: West Antarctic ice collapse may be prevented by snowing ocean water onto it
18.07.2019 | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Heat flow through single molecules detected

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Heat transport through single molecules

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Welcome Committee for Comets

19.07.2019 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>