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Grad student talk - Coastal changes in Greenland in a changing climate

Thursday, March 03, 2016, 12:30PM - 1:30PM


Mette Bendixen

University of Copenhagen


SEEC room S225

Mette Bendixen, a visiting researcher from the University of Copenhagen, will be giving this week's grad seminar. Mette uses remote sensing products to explore the geomorphic evolution of Greenland's west coast and how it relates to changes in the cryosphere. Come give Mette a welcome to INSTAAR and hear about her interesting research in SEEC S225. SEEC S225  is same room as last seminar, which can be found on the long hallway on the south wing of the 2nd floor.


Arctic sedimentary coasts experience an increasing pressure due to the ongoing warming climate. Permafrost thaws and destabilizes the coast, ice-free periods on sea prolong and increase the period where waves can erode the coast, and sea-level rises due to increasing freshwater supply and thermal expansion. As a consequence, existing studies reveal severe erosion throughout large parts of the tundra-coasts in Alaska, Canada, and Russia in recent years. However, it remains unclear until now how sedimentary coasts in Greenland respond to a warming climate.

In this talk I will show sedimentary coastal evolution at Disko Island, Western Greenland. Shoreline changes since 1964 are estimated using aerial photos, orthophotos, and satellite images. Two hot-spots with large changes are detected around two deltas and the processes responsible for the large accretion and migration rates are discussed. Our results fill the knowledge gap there is regarding sedimentary coastal evolution in Greenland. Moreover, I will talk about our ongoing work where we are detecting shoreline changes within 100 deltas throughout large parts of Greenland from 1940s till today. We will couple the observed shoreline changes with changes in surface mass balance of the ice sheet, glacial movement, and with changes in sea ice extent. This will give us a better understanding of the coasts of Greenland’s response to climate changes.