"This interdisciplinary project addresses impacts of mineral aerosol (dust) on glaciers bringing together two major issues in climate change research: glacier shrinkage and impacts of mineral aerosol on climate system. The project is set in the Caucasus Mountains, Russia and will bring together models and observations of dust deposition and glacier melt using a variety of techniques. The project’s objectives can be grouped into three sets. The first set deals with characterisation of dust deposited on glaciers and its radiative properties. Detailed characterisation of dust including elemental composition and particle size distribution will be provided and sensitivity of glacier melt to dust deposition will be quantified discriminating between dust of different type and provenance (e.g. locally-produced (LPD) and long-travelled (LTD)) and using energy balance melt models. A novel methodology to derive reflectance and quantify the extent and density of dust deposited on glacier surface will be developed using hyperspectral remote sensing. The second set deals with LTD. A record of LTD deposition events will be established using samples collected from the Caucasus glaciers since 2008. The project will make use of samples from the deep ice-core extracted in the study region in 2009. Trends and key meteorological controls over LTD deposition will be quantified and dust provenance will be determined. The third set deals with representation of LTD deposition in HiGAM atmospheric general circulation model and its validation. Model data characterising LTD transportation and deposition in the Caucasus will be retrieved from the 20-year model runs and validated against observations generated by the project helping to improve model performance. The project will bring to the EU new observational data and expertise in glacier change in the region where environmental security depends on glacier runoff and will benefit from the advanced techniques which are unavailable in Russia."
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