Science Service System

Summary of Proposal LAN1699

TitleGreenland Ice Velocity
Investigator Gourmelen, Noel - University of Edinburgh, School of GeoSciences
Team Member
Pr. Shepherd, Andrew - University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment
Pr. Nienow, Pete - University of Edinburgh, School of Geosciences
SummaryClimate warmingover the 20th century has forced dramatic changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet(GrIS).Satellite observationshave revealed increased flow of the glaciers to the sea [Rignot et al., 2008],increased surface melting [Steffen et al., 2004], lowering of the Ice Sheetsurface [Zwally andGiovinetto,2001], retreat of the glaciers' fronts [Box et al., 2006], and gravity anomalyrelated to ice mass loss [Velicogna andWahr, 2006]. These changes have led to a reduction in the mass of theGrIS and a consequent rise in global sea level. With enough ice to raise globalsea levels by over 7 metres, future changes could have a dramatic societal andeconomic impact. Runoff from the GrIS, for example, has the potential to modifypatterns of global ocean circulation, with profound consequences on the Earth'ssystem heat transport. Earth observation satellites provide a way to measureessential climate variables over large areas and with a frequency that allowsus to understand and quantify the changes affecting the GrIS. Satellitesprovide, for example, datasets to understand the mechanisms by which mass isbeing lost and how the GrIS responds to the forcing of heat transport by theatmosphere and the ocean. The purpose of GreenSAR is to quantify the degree ofmass imbalance of the GrIS by exploiting Earth Observation datasets, from past,present, and future satellite missions, with an emphasis on the high temporalresolution TerraSAR-X dataset and the CryoSat mission. The dataset will be usedto test new concepts and techniques to better characterise mass imbalance. Theoutcome of this work will provide a comprehensive understanding of the masstransfer between the GrIS and the ocean, and an understanding of feedbackprocesses that will provide an improved capacity to predict future changes ofthe GrIS and its contribution to global sea level.

Back to list of proposals

DLR 2004-2016