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SEDIMICE - Linking sediments with ice-sheet response and glacier retreat in Greenland

SEDIMICE - Linking marine sediments with ice-sheet response and glacier retreat in Greenland.
Helheim map
Helheim map
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The SEDIMICE project (2009-2014) focused on climate variability in the Southeast Greenland region (64-68 degree North) including Ikeq/Køge Bugt, Sermilik Fjord and Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord.

The aim is to reconstruct past fluctuations in marine-terminating outlet glacier dynamics (including iceberg and meltwater production) and the interaction with oceanographic changes. This is done on the basis of sediment cores retrieved from the fjords and the shelf and we specifically focus on the instrumental period and try to put it in context with centennial to millenial changes.

The project is financed by The Danish Independent Research Council (FNU), Geocenter Denmark and Danish Centre for Sea Research (DCH) and involves researchers from the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), The Geological Museum (at Natural History Museum of Denmark) and the Department of Earth Sciences at University of Aarhus.
If you have questions about SEDIMICE please contact the project leader, Camilla S. Andresen csa@geus.dk

The contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to globally rising sea level has increased ten-fold since 2003 and is now at more than ½ mm per year. This increase means that the Greenland ice sheet is one of the most significant contributors of water to the rising global sea level, and there are therefore concerns about its long term stability.
Evidence is emerging that rising temperatures of specific ocean currents play a vital role in the recent acceleration of large fast flowing glaciers, such as Jakobshavn Isbrae in West Greenland and Helheim in East Greenland. The question is whether these incursions of warmer waters are part of a recurrent phenomenon and indeed how exactly they influence the glaciers. SEDIMICE investigates past ice fluctuations with regard to magnitude, possible causes and effects.

From cruises conducted in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 we now have a large repository of marine sediment cores from Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord, Sermilik Fjord by Helheim Glacier and the fjords by Ikertivaq and Køge Bugt Glacier complexes as well as from the shelf in the region. The cores are dated by means of 14C, 210Pb and 137Cs and analysed with regard to ice rafted debris (IRD), benthic foraminifera, diatoms and biomarkers. In this way the interaction between Irminger water, sea surface temperature and iceberg rafting beyond the instrumental timeperiod can be evaluated. Further, by comparing these records with similar types of records from Jakobshavn Isbrae in West Greenland and other North Atlantic palaeoclimate records with regard to any bipolarity in climate variability, the possible underlying driver mechanisms such as the NAO and AMO can be investigated.

By combining sediment studies with modern climate studies we aim to extend the knowledge from meteorological time series further back in time. The advantage of palaeoclimate studies is that "noise" is filtered out and the more consistent climate signal becomes more prominent. This kind of knowledge should provide an important contribution to the ongoing discussion about natural climate variability and the consequences of anthropogenically driven climate change.


Researchers involved: Camilla S. Andresen, Antoon Kuijpers, Niels Nørgaard-Pedersen, Andreea E. Stoican, Lena Håkansson, Andreas P. Ahlstrøm, Kaarina Weckström, (The National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland), Laurence Dyke (Swansea University) Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz, Longbin Sha (University of Aarhus), Kurt Kjær (Geological museum at the Museum of Natural History). Collaborators: John T. Andrews and Anne Jennings (INSTAAR), Tavi Murray (Swansea Uni.) Fiamma Straneo (WHOI).


Relevant references:
Andresen, C. S., Hansen, M. J., Seidenkrantz, M.-S., Jennings, Faurschou, M, Nørgaard-Pedersen, N., A. E., Larsen, N., Kuijpers, A., and Pearce, C. 2012b. Late-Holocene oceanographic variability on the Southeast Greenland shelf. The Holocene DOI: 10.1177/0959683612460789.
Andresen, C. S., Straneo, F., Ribergaard, M. H., Bjørk, A. A., Andersen, T.J., Kuijpers, A., Nørgaard-Pedersen, N., Kjær, K. H., Schjøth, F., Weckström, K. and Ahlstrøm, A. P. 2012a: Rapid response of Helheim Glacier in Greenland to climate variability over the past century. Nature Geoscience 5, 37-41, doi:10.1038/ngeo1349.
Schjøth, F., Andresen, C. S., Straneo, F., Murray, T., Scharrer, K. and Korablev, A. 2012: Campaign to map the bathymetry of a major Greenland fjord. Eos Transactions, American Geophysical Union (Brief Report) 93 (14), p.1
Andresen, C.S., Nørgaard-Pedersen, N., Jensen, J. B., and Larsen, B. 2010: Southeast Greenland ice-sheet variability elucidated by shallow seismic survey and sediment coring in the Sermilik Fjord near the Helheim Glacier in 2009. Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin 20, 83-86.
Bjørk, A. A., Kjær, K. H., Korsgaard, N. J., Khan, A., S., Kjeldsen, K. K., Andresen, C. S., Box, J. E., Larsen, N. K. and Funder, S. 2012. Historical aerial photographs uncover eighty years of ice-climate interaction in southeast Greenland. Nature Geoscience 5, 427–432 doi:10.1038/ngeo1481
Andresen, C., McCarthy, D., Dylmer, C., Seidenkrantz, M.-S., Kuijpers, A., Lloyd, J. 2011: Interaction between subsurface ocean waters and calving of the Jakobshavn Isbræ during the late Holocene. The Holocene 21(2), 211–224.


Helheim glacier
Helheim glacier
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Core retrieval
Core retrieval
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Sunset over Sermilik Fjord
Sunset over Sermilik Fjord
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Cores are analysed for content of ice rafted debris
Cores are analysed for content of ice rafted debris
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SEDIMICE - Linking marine sediments with ice-sheet response and