Daksha Rajagopalan

Advisor:  Mary-Louise Timmermans


The Arctic is one of the most fragile ecosystems, and is also extremely sensitive to climate change. Melt of Arctic sea ice and glaciers also play a significant role in the positive albedo feedback, underscoring the importance of understanding the effects of recent warming in the Arctic. Glacier-melt also directly affects sea level rise, and tidewater glaciers in particular are directly influenced at the ice-water margin by the fjord waters. The intrusion of warmer waters, such as the North Atlantic Water, into the fjords, can accelerate glacier melt.

The goal of this research project is to model the circulation of Kongsfjorden close to the glacier-face of Kronebreen and Kongsvegen. The system has two outflows that come out of the glacier and mix with fjord waters. I am doing a process study, and the main influence governing changes in the system over the timescale I am working with are tides.

During July and August 2011, I conducted fieldwork with an REU group and advisors: Prof. Julie Brigham-Grette (U Mass, Amherst) and Prof. Ross Powell (INU). We used CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) devices with attached OBS (turbidiy, or relative sedimentconcentration) sensors to repeat casts over a few key transects. We also constructed drogues to get a rough idea of current directions. Others in the field program studied sediment cores and collected water samples, and data from these water samples may give an indication of sediment concentration which will be helpful for me.

Now I am working with Prof. Timmermans to analyze the data and model fjord circulation. After cleaning up my data I will import it into Ocean Data View (ODV).  Using this software I will be able to make plots and think about my data. I will also read the literature on the downfjord circulation in Kongsfjorden, with the hopes of connecting my data to those models.