PINE ISLAND GLACIER PROJECT UPDATE
An international team of scientists and glaciologists are reaping the data-rich rewards of an exhaustive expedition to the Western Antarctic Ice Shelf’s (WAIS) Pine Island Glacier, where landmark measurements of ocean/ice interactions are beginning to clarify what experts have long called “the biggest source of uncertainty in global sea level projections.”
Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Department of Oceanography Research Professor Tim Stanton and University of Alaska Department of Physics Professor Martin Truffer led the team to the remote edge of the Pine Island Glacier’s massive shelf. And the results of their expedition are giving scientists a rare look beneath the ice at one of the most critical research sites on the planet – a site whose fate could affect the lives of millions. Read the full story...
|A team of NPS oceanographers is braving six weeks of frigid temperatures and gusty winds in Antarctica for the research opportunity of a lifetime. NPS Research Professor of Oceanography Tim Stanton, Research Assistant Professor of Oceanography Bill Shaw, and Oceanographer Jim Stockel are on a two-month-long expedition to the remote Pine Island Glacier ice sheet in Antarctica, where rapidly-moving ice sheets have researchers anxious to explore warm water currents beneath ice shelves that extend out into the ocean from the continental edge. The 10-man research team, comprised of researchers from three other universities and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has several important pieces of equipment in-tow, including three specially-designed research tools developed and built by Stanton and his team at NPS. Read the full story...|
UPDATES FROM THE FIELD
NPS Researcher Tim Stanton
12-17-12 Progress on the Pine Island Glacier field experiment
12-3-12 Pine Island Galcier Ice Shelf Drill Camp
After days of freight juggling at WAIS, on Decenber 1st four of us flew down to the PIG Drill Camp that was established the day before. We had yet another brilliant clear day, put up our mountain tents and enjoyed a great dinner, camping style, cooked by Sal, an experienced camp manager and photographer. The warm (-10C to – 15C), sunny, low wind weather has continued allowing us to put up our 12’ by 20’ science tent where we will set up and test our ocean instrumentation in advance of the actual hot water drilling through the ice shelf. We are still waiting for the heavy generator and water pump that have to come down from the support camp, along with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks drill team who we will be helping. We hope the good weather holds as we get down to business at this profoundly remote field site.
11-23-12 WAIS Divide
This afternoon we had a tour of the deep drilling project located on the edge of the camp, run by a glaciology group from Penn State. Over the course of several summer seasons, they drill a DVD-diameter ice core down to 3600m depth below the 2000m high surface. Particles and gas bubbles trapped in the ice provide a climate record stretching back 65000 years, complimenting similar core records drilled through the Greenland ice-sheet. Since snow builds up the ice shelf by about 1m each year, the drilling station is now under the ice sheet surface about 8m since it’s 2004 deployment. The whole facility is contained in a large arched under-ice room.
Tomorrow we are scheduled to leave this fine camp for a more primitive frontier camp at PIG, where we will be moving our equipment stored on a snow berm last season down to the PIG ice shelf drill site. In the next two months we plan to drill up to 6 holes 500m through the ice sheet and deploy instruments developed in our Ocean Turbulence Laboratory down into the ocean cavity below the shelf. These instruments will measure ocean circulation and turbulent fluxes between the water and ice over the next year, reporting by satellite every day back to NPS.
University of Alaska, Fairbanks Researcher Martin Truffer
11-15-12 Waiting for weather
11-14-12 The migration to the South
Visit the Pine Island Glacier field update archive to learn more about the Antarctic research.
12-20-12 National Science Foundation
12-13-11 Our Amazing Planet
12-12-11 Our Amazing Planet
11-9-11 National Science Foundation
11-9-11 Our Amazing Planet
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