Linking Sea Surface Height Variations with Hydrographic Variability around the Greenland Ice Sheet to Improve Understanding of Sea Level Rise

Ian Fenty (JPL, United States)


Stephen Nerem (University of Colorado at Boulder, USA); Dallas Masters (University of Colorado at Boulder, USA); Dimitris Menemenlis (NASA JPL, USA)

Event: 2017 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Advances in coastal altimetry: measurement techniques, science applications and synergy with in situ and models

Presentation type: Type Poster

Increased melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet has contributed to the recent acceleration of global mean sea level rise. Beginning in the late 1990s, a warming of the marginal seas and boundary currents circulating in the Northwest North Atlantic basins preceded a dynamic retreat, acceleration, and thinning of many of Greenland’s marine-terminating glaciers. The simplest inference is that some ocean basin warming is communicated to the ice sheet via advection across the continental shelf and fjords, increasing submarine melt rates and initiating a dynamic ice-sheet response. Historically, very few in situ measurements of ocean temperature have been made on Greenland’s continental shelf. Even today, monitoring ocean heat content variability in the region remains challenging and expensive. In this poster we introduce a new project to improve understanding of sea surface height and ocean heat variability on the Greenland shelf, its relationship to hydrographic and atmospheric variability, and the implications for past and future ocean-ice sheet interaction and sea level rise through the development of new techniques to analyze satellite ocean surface topography data. During this project we will investigate the past 25 years of sea surface height variability and ocean heat content on Greenland’s shelf using remote sensing data including coastal altimetry, atmospheric reanalyses, in situ hydrographic data, and numerical modelling. By combining our ocean heat content reconstructions with existing and anticipated ice sheet measurements from NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) and other missions, including ICESat-1, Operation Ice Bridge, and the forthcoming ICESat-2, we will link observed changes of Greenland’s marine-terminating glaciers to ocean temperature changes on their neighboring shelves. It is hoped that this study will pave the way for future monitoring of ocean thermal forcing of the Greenland Ice Sheet using altimetric data from the upcoming SWOT, Sentinel-3, and Jason-CS missions.

Poster show times:

RoomStart DateEnd Date
Concerto Ballroom Thu, Oct 26 2017,14:00 Thu, Oct 26 2017,18:00
Ian Fenty
United States