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How Will Sea Ice Loss Affect the Greenland Ice Sheet? On the Puzzling Features of Greenland Ice-Core Isotopic CompositionThe modern cryosphere, Earth's frozen water regime, is in fast transition. Greenland ice cores show how fast theses changes can be, presenting evidence of up to 15 C warming events over timescales of less than a decade. These events, called Dansgaard/Oeschger (D/O) events, are believed to be associated with rapid changes in Arctic sea ice, although the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. The modern demise of Arctic sea ice may, in turn, instigate abrupt changes on the Greenland Ice Sheet. The Arctic Sea Ice and Greenland Ice Sheet Sensitivity (Ice2Ice Chttps://ice2ice.b.uib.noD) initiative, sponsored by the European Research Council, seeks to quantify these past rapid changes to improve our understanding of what the future may hold for the Arctic. Twenty scientists gathered in Copenhagen as part of this initiative to discuss the most recent observational, technological, and model developments toward quantifying the mechanisms behind past climate changes in Greenland. Much of the discussion focused on the causes behind the changes in stable water isotopes recorded in ice cores. The participants discussed sources of variability for stable water isotopes and framed ways that new studies could improve understanding of modern climate. The participants also discussed how climate models could provide insights into the relative roles of local and nonlocal processes in affecting stable water isotopes within the Greenland Ice Sheet. Presentations of modeling results showed how a change in the source or seasonality of precipitation could occur not only between glacial and modern climates but also between abrupt events. Recent fieldwork campaigns illustrate an important role of stable isotopes in atmospheric vapor and diffusion in the final stable isotope signal in ice. Further, indications from recent fieldwork campaigns illustrate an important role of stable isotopes in atmospheric vapor and diffusion in the final stable isotope signal in ice. This feature complicates the quantitative interpretation of ice core signals but also makes the stable ice isotope signal a more robust regional indicator of climate, speakers noted. Meeting participants agreed that to further our understanding of these relationships, we need more process-focused field and laboratory campaigns.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Pausata, Francesco S. R.
(Stockholm Univ. Sweden)
Legrande, Allegra N.
(NASA Goddard Inst. for Space Studies New York, NY United States)
Roberts, William H. G.
(Bristol Univ. United Kingdom)
Date Acquired
April 1, 2016
Publication Date
March 14, 2016
Publication Information
Publication: Eos: Earth and Space Science News
Volume: 97
Subject Category
Meteorology And Climatology
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
sea ice
ice environments
Arctic Ocean

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