Feedbacks: Mapping the Greenland Glacial System

[Click to zoom]Sea level rise is recognized internationally as a dominant scientific and societal concern associated with the response of the climate system to forcing by CO2. In setting the prioritization for NASA research in the Earth sciences in the coming decade (NRC 2007), the first questions posed in the executive summary were: “Will there be catastrophic collapse of the major ice sheets, including those of Greenland and West Antarctic and, if so, how rapidly will this occur? What will be the time patterns of sea level rise as a result?” To answer these questions, this mission will provide both (1) critically needed detailed mapping of the Greenland basal topography and the overlying ice depth structure, and (2) optimized inverse/adjoint modeling to test and systematically improve forecasts that predict Greenland’s contributions to sea level rise.