Quaternary geology and Paleoclimate

Climate variability across the North Atlantic

PhD candidate: Fanny Ekblom Johansson

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Supervision: Jostein Bakke (UiB), Camilla Snowman Andresen (GEUS)

Project funding: Senter for klimadynamik, TRANSENERGY, MARGINS

Project period: May 2016 – May 2020

Collaboration: Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS)


The main aim of my PhD – project is to locate climate change and glacial behaviour differences across the North Atlantic Ocean. My task is to locate contrasts in past climate variability and glacial fluctuations on both sides of the ocean which are valuable to understand future climate changes and forcing mechanisms controlling them, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation and atmospheric boundary shifts.

I will work on three field sites: Folgefonna and Sandvinvatnet in south west Norway and Eqip Sermia on western Greenland. Folgefonna consists of three plateau glaciers, Sandvinvatnet is a lake east of the Folgefonna complex and Eqip Sermia is an outlet glacier from the Greenland ice sheet. The results from these sites will also be compared to studies made on Tasiilaq, east Greenland for a broader perspective.

The project has three parts. I will map the subglacial topography of Folgefonna using Iceradar to investigate glacial flow paths, meltpatterns and possible landscape changes during a glacial retreat. I am going to work on lake sediment cores from Sandvinvatnet with the aim to identify past floods and locate flood patterns for the area. By comparing this data to studies on lakes closer to Folgefonna, we can hopefully define the origin of the floods as well. For Eqip Sermia I will work on marine sediment cores taken in the fjord at the terminus of Eqip Sermia to reconstruct the glacier extension mainly through grain size and distribution analysis combined with historical records. The results will be compared with Folgefonna's past fluctuations and studies made on diastal lake sediment cores in Tasiilaq. Ultimatley, climate variations will connect the three subprojects