Sea ice is of global importance. The observed rate of decline in Arctic sea ice in recent decades, and predictions of an ice-free Arctic, have far-reaching social and economic impacts. However, systematic observations of sea ice have only begun in more recent decades. Our understanding of key processes is limited to the satellite (post-1979) era, limiting our understanding of decadal to centennial scale variability. In this project, we will provide much‑needed reconstructions of sea ice beyond the instrumental period, placing the recently observed changes in context.
The experienced international team will drill shallow (20-50 m) ice cores from coastal Greenland as part of GLACE. The remote sites offer the best possibility of capturing past sea ice variability but they must be visited soon; the valuable records are at risk of meltwater damage as surface temperatures increase. We will measure a suite of chemical species contained in the ice cores to reconstruct past sea ice extent, surface temperature, snow accumulation, atmospheric circulation and surface melt. In addition, the team will install automatic weather stations in the remote Northern coastal regions to connect with a network of observational records, recording Greenland’s current climate.