November 10, 2015

Nature international journal publishes article on climate co-written by CNES grantee student

An article by six young scientists, among them CNES grantee student Amaury Dehecq, has been published in the prestigious international science journal Nature. The article reveals that despite a spectacular increase in ice sheet meltwater, ice flow along land-terminating margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet has slowed.

Covering a region of 8,000 in Greenland, this study published in Nature n°526 (p. 692–695) was carried out by Amaury Dehecq, Andrew J. Tedstone, Peter W. Nienow, Noel Gourmelen, Daniel Goldberg and Edward Hanna, in collaboration with Edinburgh University and Sheffield University. For more details, see:

To examine the long-term impact of meltwater on ice sheet flow, a team of scientists monitored the motion of stable features such as crevasses in a series of satellite images acquired continuously from 1985 to 2014. They observed a clear regional slowdown of ice motion in land-terminating margins of the ice sheet over a period during which surface meltwater production increased 50%. This study reveals that a reduction in lubrication of the ice-bed interface due to faster drainage of water at the end of summer caused this slowdown.

These findings will allow scientists to better predict the ice sheet’s response to climate change and improve projections of sea level rise. More research will however be needed to understand the processes driving the motion of outlet glaciers.

Getting young students interested in space and supporting top-level science students is one of CNES’s missions, which is why the agency allocates some 100 doctoral and post-doctoral research grants every year.

Pascale Bresson    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39
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