Milne Glacier, northern Ellesmere Island. (c) Andrew K. Hamilton

GO-ICE: Glacier-Ocean-Iceberg Dynamics in a Changing Canadian Arctic is a 4-year (2019-2023) ArcticNet funded project that aims to better understand the links between glaciers, the ocean, and icebergs in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) at a time of rapid climate change. We are taking an interdisciplinary and trans-methodological approach to answer pressing and fundamental questions at the interfaces of glaciology, oceanography, and atmospheric science. Our research consists of observational, remote sensing, and numerical modelling. We are conducting both regional monitoring surveys and intensive process studies at targeted field sites. Our research topics can be broadly grouped into three main categories: 1) glaciers, 2) oceans, 3) icebergs.

We aim to understand:

  1. How does atmospheric and ocean warming influence the mass balance and motion of tidewater glaciers, and how does this compare to changes in land-terminating glaciers?
  2. Are regional changes in the properties of ocean waters in contact with glaciers, ice shelves and icebergs controlling the stability of these ice bodies?
  3. What is the distribution of glacier mass loss to the ocean, through both meltwater runoff and the drift and deterioration of icebergs, and how does this freshwater impact ocean stratification and circulation?

Field Sites

GO-ICE has three main field sites where targeted processes studies are underway. These are:

  • Milne Fiord, northern Ellesmere Island
  • Expedition Fiord, Axel Heiberg Island
  • Talbot Inlet, southeast Ellesmere Island

Regional surveys are being conducted by:


GO-ICE aims to have an impact on Arctic science by:

  1. Providing ongoing monitoring of the mass balance, dynamics and recent changes of glaciers across the CAA;
  2. Enabling the first comprehensive assessment of the impact and relative importance of atmospheric vs. oceanographic changes on the dynamics and evolution of glaciers and ice shelves in the Canadian Arctic, which will allow us to improve models of how glaciers are likely to respond in a warming climate;
  3. Providing the data required to improve numerical ocean circulation models of the CAA;
  4. Quantifying iceberg production rates and determining whether iceberg risks to Arctic shipping are changing in a warming climate and providing modelling tools to better assess these risks;
  5. Partnering with communities in Nunavut to providing training and employment for Nunavummiut to make glacier and ocean measurements so communities can better understand how climate change may be impacting their communities.

GO-Ice exists as a network of researchers from the University of Ottawa, University of Alberta, Carleton University, University of Waterloo and Queens University.

Learn more about the GO-Ice Research team here!

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