Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Phone number
+31 (0)113 57 7476
Visiting Scientist
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Glacier-Ocean interaction
  • Ecosystem modelling

Dr. Lorenz Meire

Visiting Scientist

The importance of melting land ice for coastal seas

Biogeochemist Lorenz Meire investigates the influence of melting land ice on the coastal seas around Greenland. ‘On Greenland, an incredible amount of ice melts in the summer. About one thousand gigatonnes of freshwater flows into the sea, or in other words, a quantity equal to one-third of the global consumption of freshwater. This quantity will certainly substantially increase in the future.’

Turbid river or strong upwelling

‘Meltwater can enter the sea in two ways. For glaciers that end on the land, meltwater enters the sea as a turbid river loaded with sediment. This results in turbid, low-light surface layers in these Greenland fjords with lower productivity, meaning that little sea life develops. At the marine-terminating glaciers, where the glaciers reach the sea, a large portion of the meltwater enters the sea at subsurface depths. As fresh meltwater is lighter than seawater, we observe strong upwelling at these glacier termini, bringing up many nutrients. At those locations, an extremely rich sea life arises.’

Arctic focal point

‘The Arctic region is a focal point in the research into climate change. The climate is warming faster than elsewhere on earth. With my research into the nutrient dynamics in Greenland fjords and coastal seas, I hope to increase our understanding of the productivity of the Arctic coastal areas and how it is impacted by the melting glaciers.’

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Marine terminating glacier in Greenland (Lorenz Meire)

Research interests

My main research interest is the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet and its impact on global biogeochemical cycling and local ecosystems. By combining physical, chemical and biological oceanography, the goal of my research is to understand how ocean-glacier interaction drives the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet and what the impact is on the physical oceanography and carbon cycling of Greenland fjord systems. I address these topics by oceanographic field work in Greenland’s fjord combined with mathematical modelling.

Short CV

I hold a master degree in Environmental Engineering (2009), a master in Master in Marine and Lacustrine sciences (2011) and a PhD in Marine science (2016). A list of my scientific output/achievements can be found here.

Linked news

Thursday 20 April 2023
Melting of Greenland glaciers changes coastal ecosystem
During the 21st century, the retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet will potentially change the composition of marine coastal species in Greenland, from bacteria to fish. This is a main research conclusion of NIOZ PhD candidate Alice Stuart-Lee, who…
Thursday 23 September 2021
New, innovative equipment for national marine research
Under the leadership of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), a large consortium of national marine research and education institutes has been focusing, over the past few years, on the now necessary replacement of the national…
Monday 12 April 2021
Thick sea-ice warms Greenland fjords
Greenland is famous for its ice sheet. This massive ice volume ‘drains’ into Greenland’s fjords as slow-moving rivers of ice - glaciers. Understanding the factors that control how fast glaciers move, break-up and deposit chunks of ice (icebergs) into…
Thursday 21 November 2019
Icebergs as a source of nutrients
Will climate change lead to more iron fertilization in the ocean? The importance of icebergs as an important source of nutrients in the polar regions has long been discussed. Iron is scarce in large parts of the polar oceans, so that an increase in…
Monday 16 July 2018
2 Veni-financieringen voor NIOZ-onderzoekers | 2 Veni grants for NIOZ researchers
[Scroll down for English version] De Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) heeft twee veelbelovende NIOZ wetenschappers een Veni-financiering van 250.000 euro toegekend. Hiermee kunnen zij gedurende drie jaar hun eigen…

NIOZ publications

Linked projects

UUNIOZ_Greenland fjords as gateways between the ice sheet and the ocean
Klaas Timmermans
Utrecht University
Project duration
1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2025