Ice sheets that flow into the sea, or which rest on bases below the water’s surface, react quickly to environmental changes. However, it is unclear why they are so sensitive. The surrounding terrain, sea level and temperature affect the ice, but small-scale processes such as tidal movements, melt water drainage and crack formation in the ice also play a role.
The project run by Dr. Sarah Greenwood at Stockholm University aims to better understand the importance of these small-scale processes for the stability of marine ice sheets. She will use Stockholm University’s new research vessel, equipped with modern sonar technology, to produce digital models of the sea floor in the Baltic Sea and the Bothnian Sea. The high level of detail in these images makes it possible to see how the seabed was scoured and shaped by the most recent ice sheet, and reconstruct how the ice flowed and how it decayed at the end of the last ice age. The behaviour of the ice that once covered the Baltic will be compared to equivalent environments in the Antarctic and Arctic. More knowledge about the stability of marine ice sheets is vital for more accurate predictions of how future climate change will affect the Earth.
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Read more about Sarah Greenwood at su.se
Photo: Markus Marcetic