Observing Iceberg Melt in a Greenland Fjord – Margaret Lindeman, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

September 23, 2020 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
British Antarctic Survey
Dr Irena Vankova

As much as half of the freshwater flux from the Greenland Ice Sheet enters the ocean through iceberg calving. Up to 50% of iceberg mass is expected to melt within glacial fjords, where it influences the circulation and properties of water masses in contact with the glacier terminus, as well as the characteristics of glacially-modified water exported to the North Atlantic. Observations of iceberg melt in fjords are needed to evaluate predictions of spatial and temporal meltwater distribution under a range of environmental conditions, in order to determine its impacts on the ocean.

We conducted repeat oceanographic surveys of 6 icebergs in Sermilik Fjord, southeast Greenland, during August 2018 to identify environmental factors driving the distribution of iceberg melt, including ocean thermal forcing and stratification, relative velocity between each iceberg and local ocean currents, and iceberg geometry. Our surveys include near-iceberg properties sampled using a remotely-operated surface vehicle (Jetyak) equipped with an ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) and temperature and salinity sensors, as well as full-depth temperature and salinity profiles. Iceberg depth and shape were measured using multibeam sonar and aerial imagery, and some iceberg locations were tracked with GPS. We compare our findings to numerical and laboratory simulations, and discuss their implications for iceberg melt distribution in the context of a decade-long observational record of ocean variability in Sermilik Fjord.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *