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Kaitlin Keegan - Cruel Summer: Forest Fires, Climate, and the Enigmatic Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet

  • 10/11/2013 | 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
  • Location: Searles Science Building, Room 315
  • Event Type: Lecture

Kaitlin Keegan - Cruel Summer: Forest Fires, Climate, and the Enigmatic Melting of the Greenland Ice SheetThe Department of Physics and Astronomy presents Kaitlin Keegan from Dartmouth College giving the talk Cruel Summer: Forest Fires, Climate, and the Enigmatic Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

In July 2012, over 97% of the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet melted.  This event gained a lot of media attention, as it was the first widespread melting event of this magnitude captured satellite remote sensing. In this talk, I will present evidence of previous widespread melting events on the Greenland Ice Sheet, and discuss the mechanisms driving these events that reach the central region of the ice sheet. Analysis of multiple shallow firn cores demonstrates that there is a link between widespread melting events in Greenland and North American forest fires. Since arctic temperatures and the frequency of forest fires are both expected to rise with climate change, we predict that widespread melt events on the Greenland Ice Sheet may begin to occur almost annually by the end of century. These events are likely to dramatically alter the mass balance of the ice sheet, leaving the surface susceptible to further melting.