Greenland ice loss quadrupled over the last two decades contributing 7.5 mm to global sea level rise and an anomalous freshwater discharge of 3000 km3 into the North Atlantic. A sizable fraction of the mass loss is likely due to oceanic forcing at the ice sheet’s marine-terminating margins, making it imperative that glacier/fjord interactions be understood and represented appropriately in climate, ice sheet and ocean models. At the same time, Greenland’s anomalous freshwater discharge may be impacting the regional climate, including its ecosystems, with the potential of farreaching consequences, both locally and globally. The interaction between the ocean and its marine ecosystems, the glaciers, and the atmosphere at Greenland’s margins represents a new research frontier that is key to both local and global communities through its impact on sea level rise, climate, and marine resources. The complexity of processes at Greenland’s margins, including the interaction of multiple components of the climate system, combined with the challenges of obtaining data from this region, make this a problem that can only be addressed through a concerted effort across multiple disciplines, exploring diverse approaches, and working across national borders.
The GRISO Science Network is an international, multidisciplinary group of scientists interested in advancing collective understanding of problems related to Greenland ice sheet change, and its interaction with the ocean, the atmosphere and the marine ecosystems. It builds on activities initially led by the U.S. CLIVAR Working Group on Ice Sheet-Ocean Interactions, and which produced various synthesis efforts:
- A report from an international, open workshop held in Beverly, MA, June 2013, which brought together 100 scientists and program managers to discuss scientific priorities on Greenland Ice Sheet-Ocean Interactions: Heimbach et al. 2014: International workshop on understanding the response of Greenland’s marine-terminating glaciers to oceanic and atmospheric forcing: Challenges to improving observations, process understanding and modeling, US CLIVAR Report 2014-1, US CLIVAR Project Office, Washington, DC 20005, 36 pp.
- A review paper: Straneo et al. 2013: Challenges to Understanding the dynamic response of Greenland’s Marine Terminating Glaceirs to Oceanic and Atmospheric Forcing, Bull. Amer. Met. Soc., 94(8), 1131-1144.
Specific objectives of this group are:
- to provide a forum for the interaction of groups and disciplines working on different aspects of this problem
- to lead to sharing of, and easy access to resources, including data, infrastructure and personnel
- to lead efforts to inform scientists, policymakers and the public on the problem,
- to work towards implementing the recommendations identified during the international GRISO 2013 workshop (described in Heimbach et al. 2014).
Specific activities will include, webinars to discuss and advance specific topics, activities by focused working groups within the Network, and a series of meetings that seek to address specific targets.