CSDMS 2021: Changing Landscapes and Seascapes: Modeling for Discovery, Decision Making, and Communication

Integrating numerical models with co-production to understand sea level change and its impact around Greenland

Jacky Austermann

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, United States

Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet contributes to rising global sea levels. However, local sea level along much of the Greenland coast is falling due to postglacial rebound and a decrease in gravitational attraction from the ice sheet. This affects Greenlandic coastal communities, which have to adapt their coastal infrastructure, shipping routes, and subsistence fisheries. The “Greenland Rising” project is a collaboration between Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources that focuses on assessing and preparing for changing sea level along Greenland’s coastline. While sea level is predicted to fall, the exact magnitude varies widely depending on past and present ice change as well as the viscoelastic properties of the subsurface. I will demonstrate how current sea level change depends on these parameters and how we can integrate numerical models of glacial isostatic adjustment with observations of past sea level and present-day uplift to constrain them. I will further briefly describe the role of co-production in this project, which has allowed us to coordinate bathymetric surveys with local stakeholders from the municipality, industry, and local Hunters and Fishers organization. Combining numerical predictions of sea level change with baseline bathymetry and benthic mapping promises to provide communities with a clearer picture of future environmental change.

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Of interest for:
  • Coastal Working Group
  • Geodynamics Focus Research Group
  • Coastal Vulnerability Initiative