Current Postgraduate Students
Mr Timothy Lane
- 2005 - 2008: B.Sc. (Hons.) Physical Geography - Durham University.
- 2008 - 2009: M.Sc. Quaternary Science - Royal Holloway, University of London/UCL.
Uummannaq Ice Stream System, Greenland: understanding ice stream response to long term climate change.
Recent changes in ice-stream activity in Greenland have shown rapid increases in ice velocities and thinning rates. This is concerning, as the processes controlling ice dynamics over short time scales are not understood (Howat et. al., 2007; Zwally et. al., 2002), yet the repercussions of rapid changes in Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) mass balance on sea-level and thermohaline circulation are profound (Rignot and Kanagaratnam 2006). To understand the significance of such changes, the longer term context (post Last Glacial Maximum) must be established, to constrain ice-ocean-climate interaction and identify forcing mechanisms. This study will reconstruct the retreat of an ice-stream system in west Greenland from the LGM to present. The data, in conjunction with new ice sheet models, will allow an understanding of ice stream response to air and ocean temperature forcing.
This principal aims of this project are:
Reconstruction of the extent, thickness and behaviour of the onshore sector of the northern Uummannaq Ice Stream System (UISS) and neighbouring mountain glaciers in western Greenland, from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the present day.
Dating of the major changes in ice stream extent and thickness during retreat, using multiple dating techniques, allowing comparison of the response of the UISS to the slower moving Greenland Ice Sheet and smaller, independent local mountain glaciers.
Use the data collected in conjunction with a dynamic ice sheet model to constrain the retreat style (i.e. gradual, rapid, stepwise) of the UISS since the LGM.
Comparison of the retreat style, magnitude and chronology of the UISS to other ice streams in Greenland, to establish whether other ice streams responded synchronously and/or to the same forcing mechanisms as the UISS.
This research will help improve our understanding of the impacts changing air and ocean temperature has upon ice stream and ice stream systems, both within a current and future context. Currently, these climate-ice dynamic interactions are poorly understood, and results concerning short-term changes cannot be understood. These interactions are a key challenge for the global scientific community, as without a deeper and broader understanding of cryospheric response to climate change it is not possible to predict future impacts on ocean and atmospheric circulation and sea level (IPCC, 2007).
Quaternary glacial geomorphology, palaeoglaciology, glaciology, Quaternary sedimentology and stratigraphy.