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"Impact of subglacial meltwater plumes on sediment dispersal, ocean circulation, ecosystems and climate change" (PLUMES)
Start date: Jun 1, 2011, End date: May 31, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"PLUMES is motivated by the possibility that sub-glacial melt-water from Greenland and Antarctic Peninsula could affect oceanic circulation in the future due to global warming. The hypothesis is that the impact of melt-water in the ocean during major events of ice sheet melting is due not only to the salinity-temperature difference with the water column, but also to the changes in physical properties induced by sediment suspension, which affect also the optical properties of seawater and the vertical flux of oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, glacial melt-water plumites are a sedimentary proxy for major glacial brake-outs and oceanic circulation changes. The main objective of PLUMES is to quantify the sediment input from glacial melt-water during the last de-glaciation of the Barents Sea paleo-ice streams from the marine sediment record and to evaluate the effect of sediment laden melt-water plumes on ocean circulation and ecosystems. Specific objectives are: 1) to define the mechanisms and date sub-glacial melt-water outbursts from the west Barents Sea paleo-ice streams; 2) to model the oceanic circulation including the presence of a fresh water input with sediment suspension, 3) to model the effect of sediment suspension in the water column on the biological cycle, and 4) to correlate sub-glacial melt-water outbursts to known local and global climatic stages. PLUMES will provide research training in three areas: 1) specific methodology, to learn the principles oceanic transport and deposition of suspended particles by oceanic circulation; pelagic ecosystems with respect to light transmission and nutrient availability by melt-water plumes, and seabed morphology analysis; 2) multidisciplinary access to research, and 3) management. PLUMES represents the continuity of efforts to investigate the processes of climate change and its impacts on the Earth environment started by the International Polar Year 2007-2008 and follows recommendations of the IPCC."

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