Arctic Field Projects



Project Title: Collaborative Research: Response of the Northwest Greenland Cryosphere to Holocene Climate Change (Award# 1107411)

PI: Osterberg, Erich Christian (erich.c.osterberg@dartmouth.edu)
Phone: (603) 646.1096 
Institute/Department: Dartmouth College, Department of Earth Sciences 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ANS
Program Manager: Dr. Henrietta Edmonds (hedmonds@nsf.gov )
Discipline(s): | Cryosphere\Numerical Modeling | Cryosphere\Paleoclimate |

Project Web Site(s):
Data: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/datalist.html
NSF_Award_Info: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardN...

Science Summary:
The aim of this collaborative project between investigators at three universities is to develop and synthesize records of past climate change and glacier extent in northwest (NW) Greenland in order to evaluate the response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to past warm periods such as the Holocene Climatic Optimum (approximately 5 to 9 thousand years ago). Recent studies suggest that rapid ice loss is expanding northwards into NW Greenland, as demonstrated by the dramatic August, 2010, calving event from Petermann Glacier. The proposed research will integrate new paleoclimate and ice extent proxy records from the Thule region and glaciological modeling experiments with the following research objectives: 1) Reconstruct Holocene climate in NW Greenland via inferences from reconstructed local ice cap extents (North Ice Cap, Tuto Ice Cap), ice core stable isotope and precipitation records, and proxy records from nearby lake sediments. 2) Examine the sensitivity of the NW Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) to Holocene climate changes by developing the history of the areal extent of the GIS and synthesizing proxy data with glaciological modeling experiments to examine past GIS changes and predict future GIS retreat. Results from the research will enable a more accurate prediction of the NW Greenland cryospheric response to a future warmer world and provide information directly relevant to predictions of future sea-level rise. The investigators will enhance public outreach and K-12 science education through development of educational modules using simplified, web-based, climate and glaciological models. They would involve graduate and undergraduate students in field and laboratory research, participate in the Dartmouth Women in Science Project, and partner with the Dartmouth polar IGERT program.

Logistics Summary:
Researchers on this collaboration between Osterberg (Dartmouth, 1107411, Lead), Birkel (U Maine, 1107421) and Axford (Northwestern, 1108306) will conduct geological and glaciological research at five locations in the Thule, Greenland area: (1) along the Tuto Ramp/Dome margin located southeast of Thule (76.5 N, 68.4 W), (2) along the eastern margin of the North Ice Cap (north of Thule) near the Red Rock Ice Cliff in northern Nunatarssuaq (76.87 N, 67.00 W), (3) along the northern margin of the Harold Molkte Brae outlet glacier in southern Nunatarssuaq (north of Thule; 76.62 N, 67.6 W)), (4) along the Greenland Ice Sheet margin in eastern Nunatarssuaq (76.59 N, 67.06 W) and (5) on the North Ice Cap summit (76.9 N, 67.7 W). Information will help researchers develop Holocene-period records of climate change and glacial extent records of the North Ice Cap, Tuto Ice Cap and Greenland Ice Sheet. In 2012 and again in 2014, a field team of 7 will base at Thule Air Base and collect a variety of samples and information: snow pit and ice core samples from the North Ice Cap and Tuto Dome; sub-fossil plant material and lake sediment cores from the eastern and southeastern margins of the North Ice Cap and Tuto Ramp and western margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet; geomorphological mapping around all ice margins; and samples for surface exposure dating from all ice margins. They will use helicopters, boats, and wheeled vehicles as needed to reach the sampling sites, and tent-camp in the field overnight as necessary. The field team will process some samples in the field, and prepare all samples for retrograde to the home institutes and/or appropriate agencies for analysis and archiving. In 2014, team members will visit Thule in two deployments: one team focusing on collecting ice cores in May-June, and a second team collecting samples from the ice-free margin areas in July-August. Two team members will also conduct samples around Kangerlussuaq in July prior to heading to Thule. In 2013, two team members will visit Thule, traveling short distances to lakes in the area.

CPS will provide Air Mobility Command (AMC) and Danish Embassy ticketing, cargo support via ANG, lodging and gear storage in Thule, helicopter support, safety and communication gear, and, in 2014 only, bear guard support (the last by reimbursement). The PIs will arrange and pay for all other logistics, including the 2013 field work, through the grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2012Greenland - Harold Molkte Brae08 / 06 / 2012 08 / 27 / 20126
2012Greenland - Kangerlussuaq08 / 15 / 2012 08 / 17 / 20121
2012Greenland - North Ice Cap summit08 / 06 / 2012 08 / 12 / 20127
2012Greenland - Red Rock Ice Cliff08 / 13 / 2012 08 / 19 / 20127
2012Greenland - Thule08 / 02 / 2012 08 / 31 / 20127
2012Greenland - Tuto Ramp08 / 06 / 2012 08 / 12 / 20127
2013Greenland - Kangerlussuaq07 / 17 / 2013 07 / 19 / 20132
2013Greenland - Thule06 / 26 / 2013 07 / 16 / 20132
2014Greenland - Delta So07 / 31 / 2014 07 / 31 / 20147
2014Greenland - GIS Nunataks08 / 14 / 2014 08 / 14 / 20147
2014Greenland - Harold Molkte Brae07 / 28 / 2014 08 / 02 / 20147
2014Greenland - Ilulissat08 / 20 / 2014 08 / 26 / 20141
2014Greenland - Kangerlussuaq07 / 14 / 2014 08 / 27 / 20143
2014Greenland - Landso06 / 05 / 2014 06 / 10 / 20144
2014Greenland - Langfjeld08 / 02 / 2014 08 / 07 / 20147
2014Greenland - Nordso South08 / 12 / 2014 08 / 18 / 20147
2014Greenland - North Ice Cap summit05 / 24 / 2014 06 / 01 / 20144
2014Greenland - Red Rock Ice Cliff08 / 09 / 2014 08 / 09 / 20147
2014Greenland - Thule05 / 22 / 2014 08 / 29 / 201411
2014Greenland - Wax Lips Lake05 / 31 / 2014 08 / 12 / 201411
 


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