Speaker Presentation on Submarine Glacier Melting, March 11, 2022

Speaker: Dr. Rebecca Jackson, Assistant Professor, Department of Marine & Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University

Date: Friday, March 11 @3:30pm

Talk Title: Submarine melting and plume dynamics at tidewater glaciers

Abstract: Around the globe, glaciers and ice sheets are shrinking and raising sea levels at an accelerating rate. Ocean warming has been implicated as a driver of glacier retreat, with submarine melting as the presumed link. However, at the termini of tidewater glaciers – where glaciers meet the ocean with a near-vertical ice cliff –  we lack observations of submarine melting or the oceanic processes that control melt. Instead, many studies rely on untested theory and parameterizations to estimate submarine melt rates. These frameworks often hinge on buoyant plumes, whose small-scale dynamics can modulate both the ocean's impact on the glacier via submarine melting and the glacier's impact on the ocean via buoyancy forcing. In this talk, I will present ocean data collected near the terminus of LeConte Glacier, Alaska to probe the standard theory for plume-driven melt. In the first half, I will present surveys from autonomous kayaks that reveal ubiquitous meltwater intrusions along the terminus and propose a mechanism to explain why melt rates are significantly higher than theory predicts. In the second half, the bulk fluxes of submarine melt and subglacial discharge are evaluated across a wide range of conditions in six field campaigns to test the theoretical relationship between these two sources of freshwater. Modifications to the common melt parameterizations are explored, in an effort to improve our representation of melt in ocean-glacier models.

Bio:  Rebecca Jackson is a polar physical oceanographer, and her research focuses on ocean-ice interactions through the integration of field observations with theory and modeling. Broadly, she is interested in how heat and freshwater are exchanged between the ocean and cryosphere, and explores these dynamics across a range of scales, from the ocean-ice boundary layer to the continental shelf. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine & Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University. Prior to Rutgers, was a NOAA Climate & Global Change Postdoctoral Fellow, and received a Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the MIT-WHOI Joint Program and a B.S. in physics from Yale University. 

If you need the Zoom link and login info please email kmw.ears [at] dartmouth.edu