Ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions in the Arctic

The Arctic holds 3.07 0.02 106 km3 of land-ice, for an equivalent potential sea level rise of 7.6 m. Since the early 2010s, nearly half of the global sea-level rise has been caused by melting of Arctic ice, with glaciers and ice caps accounting for 35% of global sea-level rise since the early 2010s, while the Greenland Ice Sheet contributed to ~15% of global sea level. Loss of land-ice is currently increasing as atmospheric and oceanic forcing intensify and as Arctic sea ice cover shrinks.

Loss of land ice has been a key player in the local freshwater budget and impact thermohaline forcing in the North Atlantic. Furthermore, the dynamic response of land ice to climate forcing constitutes the main uncertainty in global sea level projections for the next century. Melting is driven primarily by external forcings including atmospheric temperature, ocean temperature and sea-ice concentration variabilities. With global warming, climate predictions show amplified warming near the poles. This warming heats the surface of the oceans and also melts the freshwater stored in ice. When freshwater is released to the ocean, it adds buoyancy to the surface layers of the ocean, thereby reducing its susceptibility to deep water formation under the influence of strong wintertime storms. Freshwater influences have been used to explain paleo-climate shifts through shutting down the large-scale ocean overturning circulation and have been observed to halt deep water convection in observational records. Aim and Key Research Questions
The aim of the research is to identify connections and processes linking loss of land-ice to processes in the ocean, atmosphere and sea ice across the Arctic region. The key objectives of the work will be to:
Consolidate a record of pan-arctic time-dependant land-ice change from spaceborne Earth-Observation (i.e. Swath and laser altimetry, SAR, Optical) and compile existing records of ocean, atmosphere and sea-ice trends. Develop, test and apply novel time-series analysis and complex network method to unearth spatio-temporal teleconnections in Arctic climate system, Northern Atlantic circulation and land ice masses. Propose a quantitative framework that links atmospheric and oceanic forcings to land-ice loss and sea level change.

Grant reference
Natural Environment Research Council
Total awarded
£0 GBP
Start date
30 Sep 2020
3 years 8 months 29 days
End date
29 Jun 2024