Project

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Understanding long-term outlet glacier calving dynamics with a combined high-resolution field,- remote-sensing- and modeling approach.

Applicant Lüthi Martin Peter
Number 156098
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Geographisches Institut Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology
Start/End 01.03.2015 - 30.06.2019
Approved amount 687'717.00
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All Disciplines (6)

Discipline
Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology
Material Sciences
Geophysics
Geomorphology
Oceanography
Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy

Keywords (12)

ice rheology; glacial earthquakes; glacier calving; InSAR; glacier; remote sensing; ice sheet; Greenland; interferometric radar; fracture mechanics; ice dynamcis; climate change

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Der Grönländische Eisschild verliert rapid an Masse und trägt massgeblich zumglobalen Meeresspiegel-Anstieg bei. Ein grosser Teil dieses Masseverlustesstammt von Gletschern die ins Meer kalben. Die enge mechanische und thermischeKoppelung dieser Gletscher an das Meer erschwert das Verständnis derrelevanten Mechanismen, sodass ein grosser Forschungsbedarf hinsichtlich derMechanik des Kalbungsprozesses besteht.
Lay summary
Einleitung

Der Grönländische Eisschild verliert rapid an Masse und trägt massgeblich zum
globalen Meeresspiegel-Anstieg bei. Ein grosser Teil dieses Masseverlustes
stammt von Gletschern die ins Meer kalben. Die enge mechanische und thermische
Koppelung dieser Gletscher an das Meer erschwert das Verständnis der
relevanten Mechanismen, sodass ein grosser Forschungsbedarf hinsichtlich der
Mechanik des Kalbungsprozesses besteht.

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojektes

Die Eisbewegung des Eqip Sermia Gletschers in West-Grönland wird seit Alfred
de Qervains Expedition vor hundert Jahren immmer wieder im Detail gemessen.
Aufbauend darauf werden im Verlaufe des Projektes Feldmessungen der
Eisbewegung und der Ozeanströmungen mit neuesten Methoden durchgeführt. Dazu
zählen land- und satellitenbasierte Radar-Interferometrie, GPS,
Zeitraffer-Kameras und ozeanographische Messungen. Aufgrund dieser Messungen
wird ein numerisches Computermodell des Gletschers erstellt um die
Kalbungsprozesse im Detail nachzuvollziehen. Die so gewonnenen Erkenntnisse
werden für Computer-Modellläufe angewendet die den Zeitraum des letzten
Jahrhunderts umfassen, und mit den vorhandenen Messungen verglichen.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojektes

Die in diesem Projekt gewonnenen Erkenntnisse zur Mechanik des Kalbens füllen
die grösste Wissenslücke um die Entwicklung des Grönländischen Eisschildes mit
Computermodellen vorherzusagen. Wie schnell sich der Eisschild an ein wärmeres
Klima mit veränderten Ozeanströmungen anpasst hängt zum grossen Teil von
Kalbungsprozessen ab, die aufgrund der Resultate des Projektes realistischer
in grossen Eisschild-Modellen eingesetzt werden können. Damit lässt sich
genauer vorhersagen wie schnell die polaren Eisschilde von Grönland und der
Antarktis in der Zukunft zum Meeresspiegel-Anstieg beitragen werden.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 09.02.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Calving event size measurements and statistics of Eqip Sermia, Greenland, from terrestrial radar interferometry
Walter Andrea, Lüthi Martin P., Vieli Andreas (2020), Calving event size measurements and statistics of Eqip Sermia, Greenland, from terrestrial radar interferometry, in The Cryosphere, 14(3), 1051-1066.
How Oceanic Melt Controls Tidewater Glacier Evolution
Mercenier Remy, Lüthi Martin, Vieli Andreas (2020), How Oceanic Melt Controls Tidewater Glacier Evolution, in Geophysical Research Letters, 1.
High-endurance UAV for monitoring calving glaciers: Application to the Inglefield Bredning and Eqip Sermia, Greenland
Jouvet Guillaume, Weidmann Yvo, Van Dongen Eef, Luthi Martin P., Vieli Andreas, Ryan Jonathan P. (2020), High-endurance UAV for monitoring calving glaciers: Application to the Inglefield Bredning and Eqip Sermia, Greenland, in Frontiers in Earth Science, section Cryospheric Sciences, MS 472718.
In-situ measurements of the ice flow motion at Eqip Sermia Glacier using a remotely controlled UAV
Jouvet Guillaume, van Dongen Eef, Lüthi Martin P., Vieli Andreas (2019), In-situ measurements of the ice flow motion at Eqip Sermia Glacier using a remotely controlled UAV, in Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems Discussions, 1-15.
A transient coupled ice flow-damage model to simulate iceberg calving from tidewater outlet glaciers
Mercenier Remy, Lüthi Martin, Vieli Andreas (2019), A transient coupled ice flow-damage model to simulate iceberg calving from tidewater outlet glaciers, in Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 11, 1-16.
Multisensor validation of tidewater glacier flow fields derived from SAR intensity tracking
Rohner Christoph, Small David, Henk Daniel, Lüthi Martin P, Vieli Andreas (2019), Multisensor validation of tidewater glacier flow fields derived from SAR intensity tracking, in The Cryosphere, 2953-2975.
Stream Gauge Calibration of a Cave Stream Using Water Temperature Variability as a Tracer
Lüthi Martin Peter (2019), Stream Gauge Calibration of a Cave Stream Using Water Temperature Variability as a Tracer, in Water Resources Research, 55, 1-13.
Calving relation for tidewater glaciers based on detailed stress field analysis
Mercenier R., Lüthi M. P., Vieli A. (2018), Calving relation for tidewater glaciers based on detailed stress field analysis, in The Cryosphere, 12(2), 721-739.
A century of geometry and velocity evolution at Eqip Sermia, West Greenland
Lüthi Martin P., Vieli Andreas, Moreau Luc, Joughin Ian, Reisser Moritz, Small David, Stober Manfred (2016), A century of geometry and velocity evolution at Eqip Sermia, West Greenland, in Journal of Glaciology, 1-15.
Multi-method observation and analysis of a tsunami caused by glacier calving
Lüthi Martin P., Vieli Andreas (2016), Multi-method observation and analysis of a tsunami caused by glacier calving, in The Cyrosphere, 10, 995-1002.

Datasets

Transient ice flow/damage model

Author Mercenier, Remy
Publication date 01.06.2019
Persistent Identifier (PID) 10.5281/zenodo.1492244
Repository Zenodo.ch


Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
EDYTEM CNRS, France France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
U. Washington, Seattle WA, USA United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Leica France France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Autonomous Systems Laboratory, ETH Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
MIT, Boston MA, USA United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
WSL Birmensdorf Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
University of Copenhagen, Denmark Denmark (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
VAW Glaziologie, ETH Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USA United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Network on Arctic Glaciology Talk given at a conference Multi-year observations of calving activity and front ge- ometry of two marine terminating outlet glaciers 28.01.2020 Obergurgl, Austria Vieli Andreas; Lüthi Martin Peter;
Network on Arctic Glaciology Talk given at a conference How oceanic melt controls tidewater glacier evolution 26.01.2020 Obergurgl, Austria Mercenier Rémy; Vieli Andreas; Lüthi Martin Peter;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting, Fribourt Talk given at a conference Changes in calving activity and front geometry of a marine terminating outlet glacier over six years 23.11.2019 Fribourg, Switzerland Vieli Andreas; Lüthi Martin Peter;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting, Fribourg Poster Observing glacier motion in extremely high resolution 23.11.2019 Fribourg, Switzerland Vieli Andreas; Mercenier Rémy; Lüthi Martin Peter;
TRACE 2019 Poster Glacier Induced tsunamis: A wood anatomical reconstruction in West Greenland 07.05.2019 Neaples, Italy Vieli Andreas;
European Geophysical Union General Assembly Poster Analysing calving activity and front geometry of a marine terminating outlet glacier over five years using continuous direct observations 09.04.2019 Wien, Austria Vieli Andreas; Mercenier Rémy; Lüthi Martin Peter;
European Geophysical Union General Assembly Poster Detailed High-Resolution Observations of Ice Deformation Prior to Glacier Calving 08.04.2019 Wien, Austria Lüthi Martin Peter; Vieli Andreas; Mercenier Rémy;
European Geophysical Union General Assembly Talk given at a conference Understanding variations in early Holocene retreat pattern along the fjord- and land-terminating ice sheet margin in West-Greenland 08.04.2019 Wien, Austria Vieli Andreas; Mercenier Rémy; Lüthi Martin Peter;
International Arctic Science Committee, Network on Arctic Glaciology Talk given at a conference Analysing calving activity using continuous direct observations 21.01.2019 Geilo, Norway Mercenier Rémy; Vieli Andreas; Lüthi Martin Peter;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2018 Talk given at a conference Using terrestrial radar interferometry to analyse calving activity 08.12.2018 Bern, Switzerland Mercenier Rémy; Lüthi Martin Peter; Vieli Andreas; Rohner Christoph;
CEOS-WGCV – SAR Subgroup Talk given at a conference Wide-area radar backscatter composites as a calibrated Analysis-Ready-Data (ARD) product 05.12.2018 Buenos Aires, Argentina Small David; Rohner Christoph;
Swiss Geosceince Meeting, Bern Talk given at a conference Analysing calving activity of Eqip Sermia, Greenland, using continuous direct observations 01.12.2018 Bern, Switzerland Mercenier Rémy; Lüthi Martin Peter; Vieli Andreas;
BioGeoSAR 2018 Talk given at a conference Demonstration of Wide-area Radar Backscatter Time Series Applications 12.11.2018 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany Rohner Christoph; Small David;
Polar2018 Poster Variability in Glacier Dynamics of a Greenland Glacier Using Sentinel-1 SAR Data 19.06.2018 Davos, Switzerland Vieli Andreas; Small David; Lüthi Martin Peter; Rohner Christoph;
Polar2018 Poster A minimal model of tidewater glacier evolution 19.06.2018 Davos, Switzerland Lüthi Martin Peter; Mercenier Rémy; Vieli Andreas;
Polar2018 Poster Marginal lake drainage and implications at a tidewater glacier in Greenland 19.06.2018 Davos, Switzerland Lüthi Martin Peter; Rohner Christoph; Mercenier Rémy; Vieli Andreas;
Polar2018 Poster Using Damage Mechanics to Model Calving from Tidewater Outlet Glaciers 19.06.2018 Davos, Switzerland Small David; Lüthi Martin Peter; Rohner Christoph; Vieli Andreas; Mercenier Rémy;
POLAR 2018 Poster Using Damage Mechanics to Model Calving from Tidewater Outlet Glaciers 19.06.2018 Davos, Switzerland Lüthi Martin Peter; Vieli Andreas; Rohner Christoph; Mercenier Rémy;
Living Planet Symposium 2019 Talk given at a conference Applications of Seamless Wide-area ARD Backscatter Time Series in Forestry and the Cryosphere 13.05.2018 Milano, Italy Rohner Christoph; Small David;
European Geophysical Union General Assembly Poster Level 3 wide-area backscatter time-series for wet-snow mapping and forest classification 09.04.2018 Wien, Austria Small David; Rohner Christoph;
European Geophysical Union General Assembly Talk given at a conference Using terrestrial radar interferometry to analyse calving activity 09.04.2018 Wien, Austria Lüthi Martin Peter; Mercenier Rémy; Vieli Andreas; Small David; Rohner Christoph;
European Geophysical Union General Assembly Individual talk Evolution of surface topography, debris cover, ice flow, and downwasting features: a holistic reconstruction of a heavily debris-covered Alpine glacier from 1860-2017 09.04.2018 Wien, Austria Rohner Christoph;
Swiss Polar Day 2018 Individual talk Glaciers, ice sheets and sea level 04.04.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Vieli Andreas;
Alpine Glaciology Meeting 2018 Poster Modeling ice break-off from tidewater glaciers. 01.03.2018 Chamonix, France Mercenier Rémy; Vieli Andreas; Rohner Christoph; Lüthi Martin Peter;
Alpine Glaciology Meeting Talk given at a conference Using terrestrial radar interferometry to analyse calving activity 01.03.2018 Chamonix, France Mercenier Rémy; Small David; Lüthi Martin Peter; Rohner Christoph; Vieli Andreas;
Alpine Glaciology Meeting Poster Modeling ice break-off from tidewater glaciers 01.03.2018 Chamonix, France Lüthi Martin Peter; Rohner Christoph; Mercenier Rémy; Vieli Andreas;
Network on Arctic Glaciology Talk given at a conference A minimal model of tidewater glacier evolution 21.01.2018 Obergurgl, Austria Mercenier Rémy; Lüthi Martin Peter; Vieli Andreas;
American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting Poster Using damage mechanics to model iceberg calving from tidewater outlet glaciers 11.12.2017 New Orleans, United States of America Vieli Andreas; Mercenier Rémy; Lüthi Martin Peter;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2017 Talk given at a conference Using terrestrial radar interferometry for understanding calving processes 18.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Vieli Andreas; Lüthi Martin Peter; Rohner Christoph; Mercenier Rémy;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference Using damage mechanics to model ice break off at the glacier front 18.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Vieli Andreas; Mercenier Rémy; Lüthi Martin Peter;
High Altitudes meet High Latitudes: Globalizing Polar Issues Poster Using continuum damage mechanics to model iceberg calving from tidewater outlet glaciers 12.09.2017 Crans-Montana, Switzerland Mercenier Rémy;
EGU General Assembly Poster A new parametrization and minimal model for glacier calving 23.04.2017 Wien, Austria Mercenier Rémy; Lüthi Martin Peter; Vieli Andreas;
Alpine Glaciology Meeting Talk given at a conference Using continuum damage mechanics to simulate ice break off at the glacier front 02.02.2017 Zurich, Switzerland Lüthi Martin Peter; Vieli Andreas; Mercenier Rémy;
EGU General Assembly Poster Investigating the flow and stress regime at the front of a tidewater outlet glacier 18.04.2016 Wien, Austria Lüthi Martin Peter; Mercenier Rémy; Vieli Andreas;
IASC Network on Arctic Glaciology, annual meeting Poster A century of geometry and velocity evolution at Eqip Sermia 25.01.2016 Benasque, Spain Lüthi Martin Peter; Mercenier Rémy; Vieli Andreas;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2015 Poster Long-term dynamics and forcing of a tidewater outlet glacier in West Greenland. Swiss Geoscience Meeting 21.11.2015 Basel, Switzerland Lüthi Martin Peter; Rohner Christoph; Mercenier Rémy; Vieli Andreas;
EGU General Assembley 2015 Talk given at a conference Long-term dynamics of a tidewater outlet glacier in West Greenland and its relation to external forcing 13.04.2015 Vienna, Austria Vieli Andreas; Lüthi Martin Peter;
IASC Network on Arctic Glaciology, annual meeting Talk given at a conference Detailed investigation of glacier calving with a terrestrial radar interferometer 23.03.2015 Obergurgl, Austria Small David; Rohner Christoph; Vieli Andreas; Mercenier Rémy; Lüthi Martin Peter;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Ausstellung im Landesmuseum: Grönland 1912 Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 06.02.2020 Landesmuseum Zürich, Switzerland Vieli Andreas; Mercenier Rémy; Lüthi Martin Peter;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
wiSZen2018 15.11.2018 Arth-Goldau, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Den Gletschern geht es sehr schlecht Bote der Urschweiz German-speaking Switzerland 2020
Talks/events/exhibitions Grönland 1912 German-speaking Switzerland 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Dass sie sich sorgen, ist ermutigend Einsiedler Anzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Talks/events/exhibitions Faszination und Dynamik der Gletscher German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: radio, television n/a NHK Japan TV International 2019
Talks/events/exhibitions Dynamische Gletscher German-speaking Switzerland 2018
Talks/events/exhibitions Wenn Gletscher auf den Ozean treffen: Der grönländische Eisschild im Klimawandel Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2018
Talks/events/exhibitions wiSZen2018 German-speaking Switzerland 2018
Media relations: print media, online media Babygolf als model voor ijs-tsunami’s DE VOLKSKRANT International 2017
Talks/events/exhibitions Faszination Gletscher: Neues aus Groenland und den Alpen German-speaking Switzerland 2017
Media relations: print media, online media As Greenland melts, this iconic glacier is creating terrifying tsunamis Washington Post International 2016
Talks/events/exhibitions Detailed investigation of calving glacier: Eqip Sermia, West Greenland German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Talks/events/exhibitions Wenn Gletscher auf den Ozean treffen - der grönländische Eisschild, Votrag Ostschw. Geogr. Gesellsch German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Talks/events/exhibitions Wenn Gletscher auf den Ozean treffen – Eqip Sermia... Votrag bei GEGZ, Zürich German-speaking Switzerland 2016

Awards

Title Year
CanDoc Fellowship by the MNF of Univ. of Zurich One year salary for doctoral candidate Andrea Walter. 2019

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
113503 Understanding the causes and future direction of the present rapid thinning of Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland 01.04.2007 Project funding (Div. I-III)
127197 Subglacial Controls on the Short Term Dynamics at the Margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet 01.02.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

This project aims at understanding and modeling the short- and long-termcalving dynamics of an outlet glacier draining the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS)and validating the approach with records of its long-term evolution (> 100years). We will complement historical data with short-term in situ andremote-sensing observations to feed into a numerical modeling study targetedat identifying the key processes leading to iceberg calving, and implementingfracture and damage based methods for simulating the evolution of suchglaciers. A simultaneous remote-sensing study will use new Sentinel radarsatellite data and recent developments in object-tracking methods to deriveglacier-wide flow fields at high spatial and temporal resolution. The target glacier is Eqip Sermia on the Greenland West coast. This glacier has doubled its discharge within the last decade, and recently started to accelerate and retreat at high rate after a century of slow retreat and stable flow speed. With some delay, this glacier follows the general trend of neighboring larger outlet glaciers of the GrIS. Eqip Sermia glacier has one of the best documented histories of all Greenland glaciers, with surveys of geometry and velocity starting in 1912. The current rapid retreat into a deeper basin is unique in the glacier's documented history and is very likely irreversible under current climate conditions.Dynamic changes in such ocean-terminating outlet glaciers are responsible forabout half of the current high rate of mass loss of the GrIS. The relatedcalving process, by which ice is lost to the ocean, is still not wellunderstood and poorly represented in current generation ice-sheet models, butis a crucial requisite to understand and model dynamics and future mass lossof the ice sheet. Current calving modeling approaches are mostly empirical orlack a dynamic treatment, but it is becoming increasingly clear that calvingis a process emerging from a material fatigue and fracturing processes.We propose a novel approach of transient modeling of calving based on fractureand damage mechanics. The numerical modeling will bring together the physicsof individual ice failure and calving events to provide fracture and damagerelations that can be applied to larger-scale ice flow models. This task willbe supported by ground-based, high rate interferometric radar, and hightemporal resolution satellite-radar measurements of ice geometry and motion,intermediate resolution time-lapse photography, and for validation purposes bythe long-term (100 years) history of terminus positions and ice flowvelocities.Ultimately, this project will provide (i) relations based on damage andfracture mechanics to model individual calving events, (ii) a methodology forextraction of glacier displacements from multi-orbit radar-imagery at highresolution sub repeat-cycle time-scales, and (iii) a robust, physically based,and empirically validated treatment of glacier calving for the use inlarge-scale ice flow models.
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