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Title: Fluctuations of a Greenlandic tidewater glacier from the Little Ice Age to present : reconstruction and modelling of Kangiata Nunaata Sermia, SW Greenland
Author: Lea, James M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 9137
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2014
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Significant uncertainty surrounds the influence of atmospheric and oceanic forcing on the fluctuations of tidewater glacier outlets of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS), with the majority of studies focussing on dynamics over the last two decades. Although numerical model based projections exist anticipating the future dynamics of major GrIS outlets, these have been made using temporally limited model calibration periods (<5 years) compared to the centennial timescales that they seek to predict over. The ability of these numerical models to simulate the centennial timescale dynamics of GrIS tidewater glaciers has therefore not been explicitly tested. This thesis seeks to calibrate a well-established one-dimensional tidewater glacier numerical model against post-Little Ice Age maximum (LIAmax) observations of a major tidewater glacier outlet of GrIS. The study site chosen is Kangiata Nunaata Sermia (KNS); the largest tidewater outlet in SW Greenland south of Jakobshavn Isbræ. This glacier is known to have undergone retreat of >20 km since its LIAmax, though the timing of this retreat and response to climate forcing is currently poorly constrained. Utilising a range of source material, it is demonstrated that KNS is likely to have achieved its LIAmax by 1761, experiencing either one, or two multi-kilometre retreats by 1859, and retreats of a similar scale between 1921-1968, and 1997-2012. Terminus fluctuations of KNS were in phase with climate anomalies, where data were available for comparison (1871-2012). To allow accurate comparison to numerical model output, the accuracy of different methods of quantifying glacier terminus change was also evaluated. Two new methods were devised so observations could be matched with greater accuracy than existing methods allowed. Glacier sensitivity to climate forcing was evaluated using the numerical model.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: National Environment Research Council (NERC)(NE/1528742/1)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Glaciers ; Geological modeling