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Noon seminar - What can ice cores, water vapor and drones tell us about the health of the Greenland

Monday, January 14, 2019, 12:15PM - 1:15PM


Bruce Vaughn



Full title

What can ice cores, water vapor and drones tell us about the health of the Greenland ice sheet?


The Greenland Ice Sheet is losing over 280 gigatons of ice every year, as documented by the GRACE satellites.  Surface mass balance measurements of the ice sheet have identified changes in accumulation, and satellite data have recognized surface melt and lowering, along with calving and runoff.  However, the Greenland Ice Sheet also exchanges water vapor directly with the near-surface atmosphere, resulting in mass loss through sublimation and leaves traces of post-depositional changes in the water isotopes of surface snow.  This is important to understand not only for refining surface mass balance estimates, but also to buttress our interpretation of the paleo-isotope temperature record in ice cores.  In a proof-of-concept campaign, we have used a multi-rotor UAV (drone) to probe the near surface atmosphere above the ice sheet, measuring stable isotopes and water vapor.  This, coupled with high-resolution ice core analysis and snow surface measurements allows us deeper insight into the transfer function of atmospheric climate signal to the ice sheet.  Come learn about how our field program is using UAV’s to expand our knowledge of these processes, in addition to the Stable Isotope Lab’s other roles in deep ice cores, and global measurements of greenhouse gases.

Coffee hour

Coffee and cookies will be served at 11:45 a.m. near SEEC S228.


Free and open to the public.