Slip, sliding away: examining ice dynamics in a warming world
One of the effects of climate change is that the ice masses of the world are at enormousrisk of disappearing. This melting could add up to 70m to the global sea level.Dr. Christine Dow, Canada Research Chair in Glacier Hydrology and Ice Dynamics,aims to determine primary controls on the flow speed and dynamics of ice, and thus aid in predicting future sea level changes.
Dow’sresearch will focus on the important role of subglacial water for ice dynamics.She and her team will utilize such methods as numerical modelling, remotesensing and in situ data collectionto address four primary areas of research.
The first investigates the role of subglacial lakes (which grow and drain overperiods of two-to-10 years) in the dynamics of fast-flowing Antarctic icestreams.
Second,Dow is investigating ice/water interaction in ice shelf basal channels, and atvulnerable grounding lines in the Antarctic and Greenland where land ice firstfloats on the ocean.
The third research area examines the relative contribution of climate vs. internaldynamics in influencing the flow rate of Yukon valley glaciers.
The final research objective amalgamates the information gained from the first threeresearch areas to improve outputs from large-scale ice sheet models thatpredict rates of sea level rise.
The findings from Dow’s research will give anovel overview of subglacial hydrological controls on ice dynamics overmultiple spatial and temporal scales. In this way, she will be able to helppredict the nature of ice mass changes in a rapidly warming world.