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Til bevillingsoversigt

Understanding the influence of proglacial lakes on coastal evolution in Greenland (PROGLAKE)

Carlsbergfondets internationaliseringsstipendier

What

PROGLAKE will for the first time analyse and couple dynamics in the landscape to dynamics in the coast for better prediction of future landscape changes in a warming climate in Greenland. Specifically, PROGLAKE will elucidate the role of lakes as a key player in landscape dynamics between the glaciers and coastal regions in Greenland. By coupling processes in lakes with processes at the coast, the project will do a complete source-to-sing study in a changing Arctic climate.

Why

Understanding processes that control sediment and nutrient transport provides critical information on fluxes of sediment and improve the predictability of future sediment delivery to the ocean as climate warms. More freshwater and sediment is transported from land to sea, as the climate warms and the Greenland Icesheet melts. When increasing fluxes of sediment and nutrients is added to the marine environment, the ecosystems will change. A rich biodiversity in the nearshore zone is vital for the fishing industry, which is important for the Greenlandic national economy and the local food supply. Ultimately, changes in the coastal zone affect the global oceans, and may play an important role in climate regulation, as coastal waters are highly productive ecosystems acting as CO2-sinks.

How

PROGLAKE benefits from the large amount of data that has already been obtained. Building on this, I will use and expand the unique datasets and models consisting of 1) A re-discovered archive of historical aerial imagery from the 1940s of Greenland; 2) Lake cores from +50 lakes throughout Greenland; 3) Freshwater and sediment measurements from Greenland; 4) the SedFlux numerical model. Using these data and models, the project will advance the understanding of freshwater dynamics from land to sea and the importance of the proglacial lakes on Arctic coastal changes, and to explore how the coasts of Greenland have responded to a warming climate.

SSR

The project will provide knowledge for better prediction of future changes in the landscape. The results are of considerable relevance to the scientific climate change community and with value for policy makers and the Greenlandic society, as the entire population is located along the coast and this interface is therefore of particular high interest for the society. The findings will constitute novel insight to help the local society and stakeholders in the use of resources for hydropower plants and drinking water. In addition, the project will provide crucial knowledge on infrastructure stability and flooding risks with a focus of adaptation and creation of a sustainable future for the Greenlandic society.