Drs. Patricia Yager and Renato Castelao, professors from UGA Marine Science, and Dr. Tom Mote from Geography collaborated with others on a 2014 NASA-IDS grant to explore the impact of these meltwater events on the ocean. This summer, two UGA graduate students working as part of the team defended their PhDs. First, Hilde Oliver in the department of Marine Science successfully defended her doctoral thesis (Physical Controls on Light and Nutrients in Coastal Regions Receiving Large Fluxes of Glacial Meltwater) on June 10, 2019. Her dissertation included a chapter which led to a publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research Oceans on understanding the mechanisms behind meltwater stimulation of a phytoplankton offshore.
Another chapter to be submitted to GRL this month explored the way meltwater can move through fjords on the way to the ocean, delivering nutrients to phytoplankton offshore.
Last week, Geography graduate student, Kyle Mattingly, also defended his dissertation (Impacts of Atmospheric Moisture Transport on the Greenland Ice Sheet), explaining how these extreme meltwater events are triggered by the phenomenon of “atmospheric rivers,” or intense atmospheric features that pump heat and moisture from low to high latitudes. Kyle’s first chapter, published in Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres shows that this anomalously strong moisture transport by atmospheric rivers clearly contributed to increased GrIS mass loss in recent years, and are likely to intensify as a result of global climate change. Kyles other chapters, to be submitted for publication soon, focus on the mechanisms of melting and global sources of heat and moisture.
Hilde heads to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for a Postdoctoral Scholar fellowship there. Kyle is on his way to a Rutgers University Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship there. We wish both these outstanding students all the best in their future endeavors! Professors Yager, Castelao, and Mote expect to propose a new collaboration to NASA this fall, so stay tuned!.