Scheick’s research reveals icebergs can help predict sea level rise, Eos reports

Eos reported on research led by Jessica Scheick, conducted while a research assistant and Ph.D. student in the University of Maine School of Earth and Climate Sciences, about icebergs and their potential to help predict sea level rise. The future of sea level rise is affected in part by the contours of the seafloor. If hill-like sills are present, they can block warm water from reaching glaciers and triggering melting, the article states. Using high-resolution satellite imagery of stranded icebergs, which are usually grounded on the seafloor, Scheick and others made calculations to estimate water depth and seafloor topography around the icebergs. The team confirmed their estimates were largely consistent with sonar-derived measurements of water depth, according to Eos. “[Icebergs] did a really great job finding the actual water depth,” said Scheick. Their research was focused on icebergs that had broken off glaciers on the Greenland ice sheet, which Scheick said are the gatekeepers holding ice back from flowing into the sea, and if they rapidly melted it would be like “removing a dam.” Scheick said the next step in the research is to use the method in places like northern Greenland where there are no existing bathymetry maps.