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Geophysics Department Seminar - "Supraglacial Rivers on the Greenland Ice Sheet" - Dr. Laurence C. Smith, UCLA

Date and Time: 
May 4, 2017 -
12:00pm to 1:15pm
Mitchell 350/372
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 
Event Sponsor: 
Geophysics Department

Title: "Supraglacial Rivers on the Greenland Ice Sheet" 

Meltwater runoff from the Greenland ice sheet is a key contributor to global sea levels, but as a hydrological process has received little direct study.

This project is using field, satellite, and UAV technologies to assess surface water hydrology of the southwestern ablation zone, one of the most melt-suceptible areas of the ice sheet. Ongoing work will use a unique summer 2015 dataset of supraglacial river discharge to test the veracity of climate-model predictions of Greenland's runoff contributions to the global ocean.  Key findings include that the ablation surface is efficiently drained; that digital elevation models alone cannot fully describe supraglacial drainage pattern and its connection to subglacial systems; that predicting outflow from climate models alone, without recognition of subglacial processes, may overestimate true meltwater release to the ocean; and that supraglacial rivers are a key, understudied process linking icesheet surface-mass-balance to global sea level rise.