EAST OF KANGERLUSSUAQ, GREENLAND, JULY – Scientists from UCLA and from the University of Wyoming are studying the potential impacts of Arctic meltwater and its contributions to sea-level rise globally relative to those of calving glaciers.
This month’s Yale Climate Connections “This Is Not Cool” video captures the scientists in the field as they use instruments such as an acoustic doppler current profiler to measure a river’s flow from an ice-bound lake to an opening in the ice, known as a moulin, and eventually to the open sea.
Scientist Matt Cooper of UCLA explains the distinction between glacial calving, or “dynamic ice loss,” and the meltwater that forms on the ice sheet as it melts and eventually flows into a moulin and to the ocean.
The scientists describe how they accurately measure a river channel’s depth, flow-speed, and other parameters. That data enables experts to determine how accurately climate models predict future sea-level rise.
The scientists in Greenland point to indications from current models and from observations that the meltwater component “could possibly outweigh” the dynamic ice loss.