Final Project Report

The IASC Workshop on the Dynamics and Mass Budget of Arctic Glaciers & the IASC Network on Arctic Glaciology Annual Meeting hosted a cross-cutting activity on "Glacier-ocean interactions and their impact on Arctic marine ecosystems" that attracted 41 participants representing 14 countries.

Two-and-a half days of scientific sessions with oral presentations and posters addressed a variety of topics related to glacier mass balance, dynamics and glacier-ocean interactions. Across the Arctic, glacier mass budget and dynamics strongly correlate with air temperature. The influence of oceanic forcing on tidewater-glacier dynamics and frontal ablation varies with region and appears to be less important in Arctic Canada than in Greenland. In her keynote talk, Ginny Catania demonstrated that the strong heterogeneity in dynamic response of tidewater glaciers in Greenland is linked to bedrock topography. Advances in satellite remote sensing facilitate monitoring of glacier flow across the Arctic at high temporal and spatial resolution. Several talks highlighted the importance of subglacial discharge plumes for marine primary production in glacier fjords. However, plumes have only a positive effect on marine productivity, if they reach surface waters. This depends on discharge volume and depth, but also fjord stratification. Timeseries of glacier freshwater runoff in both solid and liquid form are now becoming available for various Arctic regions.


  • During 2006-2015, Arctic glaciers have lost mass at a similar rate to the Greenland Ice Sheet and the mass budget and dynamics of glaciers across the Arctic are strongly correlated with air temperatures

  • A better understanding of water masses and fjord circulation is needed when assessing impacts of glacier runoff on marine ecosystems.

  • Statistical modelling helps to enhance the performance of climatic mass balance models and improved uncertainty assessments of model parameters and climatic input data.

More information


Date and Location

28-30 January 2020 | Obergurgl (Austria)


IASC Working Groups funding the project


Project Lead

Thorben Dunse


Year funded by IASC



Project Status





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