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

Name of applicant

Mette Bendixen


DKK 425,000



Type of grant

Internationalisation Fellowships


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.


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.


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.

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