Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Unraveling the history of the Greenland Ice Sheet from its internal radiostratigraphy (Award# 1503907)

PI: Koutnik, Michelle R (
Phone: (206) 221.5041 
Institute/Department: U of Washington, Department of Earth and Space Sciences 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ANS
Program Manager: Dr. Henrietta Edmonds ( )
Discipline(s): | Meteorology and Climate |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
The internal structure of glaciers and ice sheets, revealed by ice-penetrating radars, has transformed our ability to understand ice evolution. Two investigators propose to use a recently developed compilation of available radar data from Greenland, in combination with ice-flow models, to increase understanding of the history of the Greenland Ice Sheet that will provide context for its response to current and future changes. This is the first time such a project is possible across most of the Greenland Ice Sheet to address how the climate and the ice sheet have changed over time. The major objectives of the proposed work include: 1) validating inferences from the recently available ice-sheet-wide dated radiostratigraphy of the Greenland Ice Sheet against those from internal reflections mapped by targeted ground-based and airborne data collected along flowlines; 2) defining and applying strategies to use Greenland Ice Sheet radiostratigraphy; to constrain its history and to evaluate hypotheses regarding its evolution; 3) determining reconstructions of Greenland's past climate and ice flow that match the radiostratigraphy; and 4) providing a foundation for future continental-scale ice-flow modeling that will seek to assimilate an extensive radiostratigraphy. Broader impacts will include support of two early-career investigators, mentoring graduate and undergraduate students, public outreach, and incorporation of the research into formal classes.

Logistics Summary:
Together with international collaborators, this grant funds two researchers over a three year period (2015-2018), to perform analysis of existing airborne and ground-based radar data of the Greenland Ice Sheet, in combination with ice-flow models, to constrain past climate and ice-sheet evolution. No field work is associated with this project.

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