Two weeks ago, I had the great fortune to publish a paper in nature together with a team of amazing cryosphere scientists.
The paper is freely available here
In the study, we show that deltas in the southern half of Greenland have grown over the past few decades, following a period of stability in the mid-twentieth century. Furthermore, we tie these delta expansions to periods of reduced sea ice and increased melt from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Throughout the Arctic, coasts have shown erosional trends, and deltas in particular, are known to drown all over the globe – Our results are interestingly showing, that as a consequence of climate change and increased run-off from the glaciers and ice sheet, Greenlandic deltas are growing.
The study started as dinner conversations between Mette and I where we discussed some of Mette’s recent delta work on the island of Disko at the west coast of Greenland (Bendixen & Kroon 2017 ESPL). In the beginning, it was most about potential fun applications of different non-parametric models but quickly turned into the ambition of upscaling the study from Disko.
Crucial was the realization that open sources images from Google Earth could be binned to an archive of historical aerial images from the 1980s. Images stored in a large archive at the Geo-data agency in Copenhagen together with other image archives from the 1940s and 1960s. From thereof the project did grow step by step and thanks to the incredible hard work of Mette and the other co-authors we have been able to place rapid changes of the Greenlandic landscape in the global spotlight
Personally, the project has been a first encounter with arctic research. Although I’m not a geologist, nor will I ever be, it’s been extremely rewarding to work with strict landscape patterns (no ecology...). Of course, the project has produced more questions than answers and a cascade of interesting spinoffs is now emerging. So, more exiting arctic research to come!