DARKEX – Modelling the darkening of the Greenland ice sheet and other glaciers by extremophiles

The melting of the Greenland ice sheet is one of the main processes contributing to global sea level rise. Recent discoveries have changed our understanding of why the ice sheet darkens during the melt season: due to a bloom of pigmented, extremophilic microalgae on the surface of the ice, increasing the absorption of solar radiation and producing more melt. A similar process occurs in several other glaciers around the world. The objective of DARKEX is threefold: (1) to establish the factors controlling these ice microalgal blooms, (2) to determine the biophysical processes of interaction of these algae with the ice matrix, and (3) to apply these concepts to the development of a mathematical model of population dynamics to model future melting of these ice masses, in order to estimate their future contributions to sea level rise.

Start date: 01/01/2023         End Date: 21/12/2026

Funding: PhD grant of the María de Maeztu Excellence Programme, Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain (MICINN; Ref: PRE2021-096869)

PhD Programme: Doctoral Programme in Environmental Change and Human Impact in the Quaternary Period (UPV/EHU)

Coordinator: Prof.  Sérgio Henrique Faria (BC3)


Key people involved in BC3:

Daniel Cortés Zapata

Sergio Henrique Faria

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