Horst Machguth, a senior lecturer at UniFr’s Department of Geociences, has obtained a highly competitive research grant from the European Research Council (ERC): a “Consolidator Grant” worth €2 million over a 5-year period. His topic is Greenland's glacial firn – a layer of old snow, several dozens metres deep, that sits on top of the ice sheet and has critical implications in the context of global warming.
Dr Machguth and his team will use satellite data and field trips to Greenland's glaciers to fine-tune their models that show how fast Greenland’s ice sheet melts and to what extent surface meltwater is soaked up by the firn. The project will seek to determine whether the firn forms a significant enough buffer to slow down sea level rises in the future, or whether its ability to retain water is reduced by global warming itself.
Greenland is of central importance in estimating the effects of global warming, as the largest source of global ocean level rise from melting glaciers.
More details about Horst Machguth's previous work on Greenland’s firn (UniZH 2016 press release)
A recent result to which Horst Machguth contributed: the discovery of a gigantic impact crater under Greenland’s ice cap.
Image Credit : P. Smeets and W. Gorter, Utrecht University