The future of the Greenland Ice Sheet is uncertain due to modern day climate change. Laura looks at how the Greenland Ice Sheet and glaciers in Greenland have responded to climate changes during the past 11,500 years in order to help understand how it will change in the future. She uses detailed mapping and surface exposure dating of glacier deposits and analyses of glacial lake sediments.
Laura's research shows that the western margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet, near Kangerlussuaq, was behind its present limit from 6,500 years ago to the mid-19th century. She has also developed a climate record along the margin of the ice sheet near Scoresby Sund, in eastern Greenland, which shows that over the last 10,000 years, glaciers responded to long-term (for example, changes in the intensity of incoming solar radiation) and also to short-term climate changes that have occurred over the past few thousand years.
Laura's research helps determine a baseline for future ice sheet and glacier fluctuations and can also be used by climate scientists for calibrating ice sheet models that forecast how the ice sheet will change in the future. Dr. Levy graduated is continuing her research in Greenland as a postdoctoral researcher at Arhus University in Denmark.
YouTube: Laura Levy on the effects of past glacial changes