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Greenland's mass balance is largely modulated by the changing dynamics of marine-terminating glaciers; however, there is currently no consensus as to what factors control this variability due to the lack of coincident ice-ocean-atmosphere data. In order to refine sea-level rise projections, a process-based understanding of the interactions between outlet glacier, atmosphere and ocean dynamics is necessary. In central west Greenland, adjacent marine-terminating glaciers exhibit contrasting temporal changes in ice speed, terminus position and mass flux.

We propose a detailed investigation of interconnected processes using a variety of datasets: detailed in-situ ice, ocean and atmospheric measurements; ongoing airborne data collected through NASA's Operation IceBridge campaign; and archival and current remote sensing and climate reconstructions. With the help of coupled numerical models to refine interpretation, these data will be used to identify the processes that control individual glacier variability. We anticipate our findings to be scalable - that is, they will help to understand, interpret, and predict mass balance and associated coupled dynamics for other ocean-terminating glaciers using historical and modern remote-sensing observations. Remote-sensing observations will be interpreted in light of a field campaign focused on Rink Glacier and Kangerdlugssup Sermerssua. This will include on-ice observations of velocity and weather as well as in-situ ocean moorings.

This project is collaborative across 5 US-based academic institutions; UT (Catania), The University of Kansas (Leigh Stearns), The University of Oregon (David Sutherland), Oregon State University (Emily Shroyer and Jonathan Nash) and NASA (Ryan Walker).

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Presentations and Publications:

L. Stearns, G. Catania, R. Walker, J. Nash, E. Shroyer, D. Sutherland, Linking fjord-glacier dynamics through an investigation of subglacial discharge in West Greenland, 2015 PARCA Meeting (NASA Goddard).

D. Felikson, G. Catania, K. Kaer, N. Korsgaard, L. Stearns, J. Nash, E. Shroyer, D. Sutherland, R. Walker, Spatial variability in surface elevation changes of Central-West Greenland outlet glaciers, Abstract C23C-0418 presented at 2014 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 15-19 Dec.

M. Fried, G. Catania, T. Bartholomaus, C. Black, D. Duncan, M. Davis, L. Stearns, J. Nash, E. Shroyer, D. Sutherland, R. Walker, Runoff routing beneath marine-terminating glaciers in Central-West Greenland, Abstract C44B-07 presented at 2014 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 15-19 Dec.

T. Bartholomaus, C. Larsen, S. O’Neel, M. West, J. Amundson, J. Walter, G. Catania, L. Stearns, R. Walker, D. Sutherland, E. Shroyer, J. Nash, Seismic tremor reveals subglacial discharge at tidewater glaciers, Abstract C32B-05 presented at 2014 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 15-19 Dec.

D. Sutherland, G. Catania, T. Bartholomaus, J. Nash, E. Shroyer, R. Walker, L. Stearns, The ocean’s role in outlet glacier variability: A case study from Uummannaq, Greenland, Abstract C34B-03 presented at 2014 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 15-19 Dec.

Sutherland, D.A., G. Catania, L. Stearns, J. Nash, E. Shroyer, and R. Walker, 2014 PARCA Meeting (NASA Goddard), Using a coupled observational and modeling approach to investigate buoyant plume structure in two adjacent west Greenland outlet glacial fjords.

Catania, G., M. Fried, T. Bartholomaus, L. Stearns, J. Nash, E. Shroyer, D. Sutherland, and R. Walker, 2014 PARCA Meeting (NASA Goddard), Interdisciplinary progress in understanding ice-ocean interactions in central west Greenland.