Hokkaido University Research Profiles

Arctic Research

Glacier Ice Sheet-Ocean Interactions in Greenland

Warming Greenland's Coastal Environment

In Greenland, which is located in the Arctic region, the mass of the glacier ice sheet has been rapidly decreasing in recent years. We are conducting research using field surveys and satellite data, with the focus on the environmental changes along the coast of Greenland, where the glacier ice sheets meet the ocean.

Content of research

Greenland is approximately six times the size of Japan, and 80% of its area is covered by glacial ice sheets. The ice in Greenland is rapidly diminishing due to the effects of global warming. In particular, glaciers flowing from the ice sheets into the ocean are undergoing remarkable changes, suggesting the influence of the warming ocean. In addition, the inflow of meltwater into the ocean is expected to raise sea levels and cause changes in ocean circulation and ecosystems, although the details are still unclear. Against this background, we are working to understand the interaction between glacier ice sheets and the ocean, and the resulting changes in the coastal environment of Greenland. We are conducting field observations and satellite data analysis with special focus on the Kanak region in the northwestern part of the country. Ultimately, we aim to clarify the impact of environmental changes on fisheries and traffic, and to provide feedback to local residents.

  • Greenland, an ice-covered island in the Arctic

  • Observation on a glacier

  • The terminus of a glacier that is retreating year by year

Potential for social implementation

  • ・Geographical analysis using satellite images
  • ・Field and satellite surveys of the marine environment
  • ・Automatic surveying and measuring technology
  • ・The impact of icebergs and sea ice on transportation

Appealing points to industry and local governments

With this research, we are conducting field observations of glaciers and oceans in the Arctic region. We would like to hear from any companies that can help us with field surveys and the development of automatic measurement techniques and equipment in such environments. I am also very interested in the development of analysis technology for satellite data.