Tracking Antarctica’s Ice Shelves

Alamo dropped, mission complete! An image of the shadow of the LC130 as it flies across the Ross Ice Shelf.   (Photo by Fabio)

The ‘Bird’ Has Flown!

The ‘bird’ has flown! Voices are raised in celebratory cheers from the southernmost continent to across the U.S. Our first ALAMO float is deployed! Now we can begin to answer some of the big questions on this mysterious ice/ocean interface.

by |December 2, 2016
The Antarctic Peninsula looks almost like a painting in this photo as the sun settles low on the horizon. (Photo M. Turrin)

‘Ghost Ice Shelves’ and the Third Antarctic Ice Sheet

The Antarctica Peninsula has been referred to as Antarctica’s third ice sheet. Following behind the East and West Antarctic ice sheet in size, one might be inclined to minimize its importance in the effects of melting Antarctic ice, on changes in sea level and other impacts, but that would be an imprudent mistake. The peninsula is Antarctica’s most northern spit of land; like a crooked finger it stretches out beckoning towards the southern tip of South America and her warmer climate.

by |November 24, 2016
The Antarctic Peninsula has elevation rising 8000 ft. with ice covering the tops of the mountains in thick layers. (Photo M. Turrin)

The Domino Effect

Ice shelves can behave like dominos. When they are lined up and the first one collapses it can cause a rippling effect like dominos. We have seen this with the Larsen Ice Shelves. Named in series, the Larsen A, B and C shelves extended along the northeastern edge of the West Antarctic Peninsula, and covered a large swath of coastline as recently as twenty years ago.

by |November 14, 2016
Pine Island Ice Shelf

A First Meeting with an Old Friend

If you have studied the impacts of climate on Antarctica you have encountered Pine Island Glacier. Tucked in at an angle under the West Antarctic Peninsula handle, this seemingly innocuous glacier has been making headlines for years as one of the fastest flowing ice stream glaciers on Earth.

by |November 10, 2016
Break in Ice Shelf

Year by Year, Line by Line, We Build an Image of Getz Ice Shelf

Changes in Antarctic ice have been dominated by the interaction of the ice and the ocean, and because ice shelves extend out into the water they are vulnerable to melt from the warmer ocean water. Melt can affect them in two ways, through thinning along their length and through causing a retreat of the “grounding line.”

by |November 6, 2016