Category Archives: Glaciology

IGS Chamonix 2014 – part 3

And here comes the last part of my summary of the IGS Chamonix 2014 Symposium.

Day 5 – 30 May 2014

After an excellent banquet, tiredness and a lot various talk are on the program of the last day of the conference. And some sun too 😉

Glacier des Bossons
Glacier des Bossons

The keynote of the day is given by Terry Wilson about the GPS/Seismograph network deployed in Antarctica to evaluate the Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA).

In the second session of the morning, Neal Iverson presented some glacial geomorphological features left by the Laurentide Ice Sheet at the Des Moines Lobe (Idaho, USA).  Using mechanic tests on tills, magnetic analysis and high-resolution Lidar, those features are identified as crevasses-squeeze ridges and so change the interpretation of the retreat rate of the Des Moines Lobe. Really interesting talk, especially for those who are glacial geomorphologist!

In the same session, Mac Cathles talked about glacial earthquakes as a way to measure calving events. He used a physical model (water tank and plastic block) to determine the aspect of the seismic signal. Really cool, sure Dr. Lucy Clarke from the BSG (British Society for Geomorphology) would like it 😛

After the lunch, Tavi Murray presented the work of her group on Helheim Glacier in Greenland. Interesting but now there is a lot of (GPS) pollution in front of this glacier.

Tavy Murray talk
Tavi Murray talk

For the last session (there was still a lot of participants), we got a surprising talk on mountain glacier flow modelling in a special context: finding where corpses were buried on the Aletsch Glacier. Guillaume Jouvet told us an interesting story: you can find more detail in his paper (doi:10.3189/2014JoG13J156).

And finally Erin Pettit presented her work on the Antarctic Peninsula which present an East/West divide due to orographic precipitation and the acceleration of the SCAR inlet Ice Shelf.

Erin Pettit talk
Erin Pettit talk

The acronym of the day was LVIS for Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor (a.k.a. the Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor). A rocking name to finish 😛

THE END

Glacier des Bossons at the sunset
Glacier des Bossons at the sunset

My conclusions

That’s it: the conference is over and everybody is going home. That was a pretty intensive and interesting conference. I talked to everyone I wish to talk to, so “mission completed”!

Just two quick remarks on modelling:

  • Model in input of model validated by other model… Start to sound a bit sketchy, isn’t it? So ok, fine, RACMO climate model looks pretty solid but some field data would help to be more credible.
  • Can one glacier/ice model solve all problems and be certain at 100%? Looks like that if you believe Elmer/Ice model users who gave no uncertainties or accuracy on their results…

I found during this conference the implications of using a digital model (climate, glacier, ice sheet) were taken too lightly in comparison of the results produced.

Anyway, the IGS Chamonix 2014 Symposium was really a great conference for me: broadening my vision of glaciology and talking to a lot of interesting people!

Thank you IGS and all participants!

Ps: I found a great shop in Chamonix 😛

Ice & Rock Shop
Ice & Rock Shop

Ps bis: I like Time Lapse photography, here is one of the view of my room 😉

IGS Chamonix 2014 – Part 2

Day 3 – 28 May 2014

All the sessions of today were about basal processes and the first session was especially about glacial hydrology. The keynote was given by Gwenn Flower. That was a really great and motivating talk about the history and evolution of glacial hydrology modelling. Hydrology modelling looks really interesting and motivating for two reasons: it’s quite visual and nobody can say something because there is no data to confront your model 😉

Gwenn Flowers and the different type of hydrological model
Gwenn Flowers and the different type of hydrological model

Just before the coffee break Teresa Kyrk-Smith gave a great talk on the initiation of ice streams by subglacial water and their simulations. Really visual and impressive.

Then after the coffee break, Marion Bougamont made a talk about soft bed sediment and ice flow in Greenland. She has some famous collaborators (if an appearance in BBC Frozen Planet makes you famous) from Aberystwyth: Allun Hubbard and Sam Doyle.

After this really interesting morning, it was time for the mid-conference excursion. Participants had three choices:

  • Taking the cable car to Aiguille du Midi at 3842 m
  • Going to Montenvers station and visit the museum and gems gallery of Mer de Glace
  • Going to Montenvers station and go for a walk on Mer de Glace

I chose the last option and went down the ladder (around 200 m from Montenvers station). Before taking the Montenvers train, there was some hope of sun but arrived at Mer de Glace it was hopelessly raining. Anyway it was a great excursion: it’s good to be outside after 2.5 days of talks 😉

Taking advantage of the IGS conference, the LGGE organised an after dinner public lecture entitled “The glaciers in abeyance?”. The speakers were Delphine Six, Christian Vincent (LGGE), Eric Rignot (NASA JPL), Frank Pattyn (ULB) and Isabella Zin (LTHE). It was a relaxing conference after more than 2 days of high-level glaciology.

Day 4 – 29 May 2014

Glacier des Bossons
Glacier des Bossons

After a poor weather excursion, this morning was sunny and we could see the summits around the conference site.

Douglas MacAyeal introducting Eric Rignot
Douglas MacAyeal introducting Eric Rignot by reading Frankenstein

So after a keynote by Eric Rignot, Martin O’Leary (@mewo2) made a really enjoyable presentation on a method to reconstruct bed topography from various datasets. He succeed to make the math involved in “hardcore” modelling easy… even if I didn’t understand half of what Martin said 😛

Martin making Mass Conservation equations easy to understand
Martin making Mass Conservation equations easy to understand

Then Mathieu Morlighem presented his work on the bed map of Greenland using mass conservation method: really interesting and impressive.

After the coffee break, Lauren Andrews presented her work based (for a change) on observations and not modelling. That was a nice talk on hydrolic head measurements in moulins in Greenland.

The afternoon sessions were focused on radar and analysis of radargram with talks from:

  • Neil Ross (@sledge_ross) about a series of impressive radargrams in Antarctica and their interpretation
Neil Ross and one of his radargram
Neil Ross and one of his radargram
  • Dustin Schroeder on what information are present in radargrams
  • Joseph MacGregor with a Matlab package (PickGUI) to analysis radargrams, the stratigraphy in Greenland Ice Sheet and how to follow isochrones on hundreds of kilometres.

And the acronym of the day award is going to: almost every speakers with NEGIS = North East Greenland Ice Sheet.

And here came the second poster session. Looking at figures from far and asking questions: it is really interesting to be on the other side of the poster session 😛 With more than 50 posters, it was difficult to go through all of them but here is my top poster list:

  • Ilaria Clemenzi with implication of blowing snow on seasonal mass balance in the Alps (Haut Glacier d’Arolla)
  • Martin O’Leary with an open source Javascript Ice Sheet Model for education. Really cool, a must try here: http://mewo2.com/ism.html
  • Clément Miège with IceBridge data and snow accumulation in SE Greenland (another NASA-JPL guy :-D)
  • Sophie Berger with Ice rise, pinning point and Ice Shelf velocity in Dronning Maud Land.  MAGIC-DML may be interested 😉

Then the banquet… just 3 words: excellent French food 😀

Banquet at the Majestic
Banquet at the Majestic

That’s it for part 2 of IGS Chamonix!