Both paleoclimatologic ice sheet data, which records historical ice sheet change, and contemporary ice sheet data, which is tabulated by modern satellite missions, are crucial for shedding light on ice sheet sensitivity to climate change. For this reason, an important goal of this gateway is to host selected ice-sheet datasets that are typically difficult to procure, making both contemporary and paleoclimatologic datasets accessible to the ice-sheet modeling community.
Paleo data encode changes in the planetary climate, on the scale of the entire history of Earth. These data may be obtained using a wide variety of geological methods. Three types of Greenland ice sheet paleo data will be supported on GHub:
- relative sea level data from the Greenland periphery;
- ice margin mapping and dating from the literature; and
- Greenland Global Positioning System Network (GNET) data.
For example, the Greenland GPS Network (GNET) collects measurements from more than 60 GPS stations located around the edges of Greenland's ice sheet. These measurements indicate changes in the Earth's crust over a period of years, and help scientists evaluate how climate change is affecting ice mass, and whether permanent melting is taking place.