Holocene Sea-Ice Variability and Ocean Circulation from the West Greenland Margin (MSc or PhD)
Supervised by Dr Jerry Lloyd & Dr Erin McClymont
Keywords: Arctic Climate Change, Ocean - Ice Sheet Interactions, Ocean Circulation, Sea - Ice Variability.
It is widely accepted that the Arctic is currently undergoing faster than average climate change, this phenomenon has been termed polar amplification (Serreze and Francis, 2006). This has important implication for the interaction between the Arctic Ocean, sea-ice distribution, ocean circulation and the Greenland Ice Sheet. Perhaps the most visible expression of this recent phenomenon is the loss of summer sea ice most clearly demonstrated by the satellite derived observations since 1979 (Serreze et al., 2007; Boé et al., 2009). It is generally accepted that this reduction is a combination of natural variability and also radiative forcing associated with increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations (Serreze et al., 2007). The balance between these two mechanisms is, however, rather unclear. Interaction between the cryosphere - ocean - atmosphere systems have strong controls on Arctic sea-ice concentration, however the detailed processes linking these systems are not adequately understood. A key question to address is whether the recent changes in Arctic sea ice can be explained by natural climate variability or whether the recent changes are unprecedented in the Holocene palaeo-record and, hence, more likely to be a response to anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing.
This research project aims to address this issue through investigation of the variability in sea-ice extent over key intervals through the Holocene from an area sensitive to changes in seasonal sea-ice extent (west Greenland margin). The project will build on recent research along the west Greenland margin investigating the interaction between ocean circulation and the Greenland Ice Sheet (e.g. Lloyd, et al., 2011; Krawczyk et al., 2010). Specifically marine sediment cores will be sampled and analysed using a range of proxies. These are likely to include organic geochemical proxies (e.g. the newly derived sea-ice proxy, IP25) and / or microfossil proxies (e.g. diatoms, dinocysts, foraminifera). Excellent laboratory facilities are available within the Department of Geography and full training will be provided. The research will also form part of a larger project involving collaboration with partners from Germany, Denmark and Poland.
Boé, J., Hall, A., Qu, X. 2009. September sea-ice cover in the Arctic Ocean projected to vanish by 2100. Nature Geoscience 2, 341-343.
Krawczyk, D., Witkowski, A., Moros, M., Lloyd, J., Kuijpers, A., Kierzek, A. 2010. Late-Holocene interaction between climate and hydrology of the West Greenland Current from Disko Bugt, central west Greenland. The Holocene 20, 659-666.
Lloyd, J.M., Moros, M., Perner, K., Telford, R., Kuijpers, A., Jansen, E., McCarthy, D. Submitted. A 100 year record of ocean temperature control on the stability of Jakobshavn Isbrae, West Greenland. Geology 39, 867-870.
Serreze, M.C., Francis, J.A., 2006, The Arctic amplifi cation debate: Climatic Change, v. 76, p. 241-264, doi:10.1007/s10584-005-9017-y.
Serreze, M.C., Holland, M. M., Stroeve, J. 2007. Perspectives on the Arctic's shrinking sea-ice. Science, 315, 1533-1536.
Note: Further MSc or PhD projects are available investigating ocean - ice sheet - climate interactions from the Greenland margin. For further information on this or alternative projects please contact Dr Jerry Lloyd (email@example.com).