Unraveling global warming at the edges of Greenland's glaciers | Science Museum of Minnesota

Field Notes
Field Notes

Unraveling global warming at the edges of Greenland's glaciers

Friday, August 11, 2017
Posted by
Greg Seitz

Heathcote (facing camera) and a colleague collect data about airborne dust near the Russell Glacier in southwest Greenland.

Station scientist Adam Heathcote is in Greenland for the next 10 days with an international team of researchers. He’ll be posting daily updates as they collect data about all sorts of forces affecting the world’s largest island — as its famous glaciers rapidly melt. They'll appear at the bottom of this post automatically, so please check back to hear about his experiences.

Greenland is an important place to study climate change. It has been extensively studied for decades, but only started to see the effects of global warming in the past 15-20 years. Since then, it has become one of the fastest-warming places in the world.

That recent history means scientists have lots of data about its pre-climate change conditions, and the current period of warming and melting. In the last 20 years, Greenland’s ice sheet has melted twice as fast as during the previous four decades.

Adam will be working with the Kangerlussuaq International Research Network (KAIRN), including scientists from around the world. This inter-disciplinary team is measuring the impact of climate change on the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems of Southwest Greenland.

In a previous paper, researchers from the team described the importance of Greenland in understanding the Arctic and the effects of global warming:

“The Arctic has witnessed some of the most rapid, nonlinear environmental change in the last 20 years, with perhaps the best example of this being Greenland, where mean annual air temperatures between 2007 and 2012 were 3°C higher than averages from 1979 to 2000.”

We’re embedding tweets from Adam and his colleagues below, so you can see photos and read about what they are doing during the trip. You don't need to use Twitter to follow along, just bookmark this article and check back!

If you do use Twitter, click this button to follow Adam's account: