A project of the bathymetry working group investigates the late glacial ice extent and retreat on the northeast Greenland continental shelf. Submarine glacial landforms are indicators for ice-flow directions, ice-flow velocities and the ice sheet retreat history. At the moment, studies based on indirect data suggest either a minimal advance of the Greenland ice sheet to the inner shelf or a maximal advance a maximal advance to the outer shelf or even the shelf edge. Up to now, only two studies present direct evidence from submarine glacial landforms for the ice sheet extent and retreat from parts of the northeast Greenland continental shelf. To close this knowledge-gap, swath bathymetric data acquired by FS Polarstern over the last two decades is investigated to identify glacial landforms. This investigation will improve our understanding of the extent of the Greenland ice sheet during the last glacial maximum and its retreat history across the northeast Greenland continental shelf and in the fjords.
Apart from a better understanding of the dynamic of the northeast Greenland ice sheet in the past, the results of this project provide important insights in the processes that are active at an ice sheet in periods of a changing climate. This information is important in order to understand the modern-day behaviour of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and towards improved models to predict future developments.