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CORDIS

Ice-ocean interactions during Heinrich Events in the Labrador Sea

Project description

Sea ice in the northwestern Atlantic and its role in ice sheet collapse

What is the role of sea ice in the climate system? Does the current loss of sea ice affect the Greenland ice sheet? The answer to these questions lies in understanding the response of past ice sheets to climate change. Within this scope, the EU-funded IceLab project aims to investigate the coupling between sea ice, ocean circulation, subsurface warming and ice-sheet collapse in the Labrador Sea. The focus lies on understanding the importance of sea ice for ice sheet stability. The methodology will be based on an integrated approach of organic and inorganic geochemistry in combination with state-of-the-art dating and correlation techniques. Eventually, the project will help to improve predictions of mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet.

Objective

Northern hemisphere ice sheets are particularly vulnerable to climate change as the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Scenarios of future ice sheet stability, however, are associated with significant uncertainty, due to a lack of understanding of the relevant internal climate feedbacks. These processes involve ocean-ice sheet interactions and the effects of sea ice on the terrestrial cryosphere. With increased societal concerns over rising sea levels, it is more than ever important to understand the implications of climate change for ice sheet stability. The key lies in understanding the response of past ice sheets to climate change.
Prominent episodes of past ice-sheet collapse are so-called Heinrich events during the last glacial period, originating in Hudson Strait. While modelling studies have long hinted at the importance of sea ice in the Labrador Sea for subsurface warming and ocean induced melting during Heinrich events, this has not been shown using proxy methods. My project will investigate the links and feedbacks of sea ice, ocean circulation, subsurface warming, and ice-sheet collapse in the Labrador Sea to determine the role of the coupled cryosphere-ocean system for ice sheet stability across. Additionally, the effect of enhanced freshwater discharge on the system will be documented and a spatial-temporal map of North Atlantic sea ice dynamics across Heinrich events will be constructed. I will apply an integrated approach of organic and inorganic geochemistry, using sea-ice biomarkers, foraminiferal isotopes, and foraminiferal trace metals (i.e. Mg/Ca) in combination with state-of-the-art dating and correlation techniques. The new records will provide important clues with respect to a potential oceanic trigger of Hudson Strait iceberg surges during Heinrich events as well as advancing our understanding of the coupled cryosphere-ocean system, vital to accurately predict mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet in the future.

Coordinator

AARHUS UNIVERSITET
Net EU contribution
€ 207 312,00
Address
NORDRE RINGGADE 1
8000 Aarhus C
Denmark

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Region
Danmark Midtjylland Østjylland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 207 312,00