West Antarctica Archives - State of the Planet

traversing the thwaites glacier

U.S., UK Scientists Join to Study Possible Collapse of Massive Antarctic Glacier

An international collaboration will study the wasting of the Thwaites glacier, which already accounts for around 4 percent of current global sea-level rise, and could collapse within decades or centuries.

by |April 30, 2018

Exploring Beneath Earth’s Changing Ice Sheets

If just the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt, it would raise global sea level by 6 meters. That’s more than a theoretical problem. West Antarctica is losing ice mass, and scientists are worried.

by |November 24, 2015
Antarctica, NBP1503 science team

Smooth Sailing Back to Tasmania

After a surprisingly smooth crossing of the Southern Ocean, with favorable winds we arrived back in Hobart, Tasmania. The weather maps show that we just got ahead of another big storm system.

by |May 1, 2015
NB Palmer, West Antarctica, CTD system

Taking a 4,000-Meter-Deep Profile of Antarctic Waters

In addition to understanding potential pathways for “warmer” circumpolar deep water to reach the ice shelf, we are also measuring what the structure and properties of the water column are and determining if there is already warmer water on or near the continental shelf that could already interact with the glaciers of East Antarctica today.

by |April 27, 2015

Mapping the Seafloor

One of the goals of this expedition is to investigate if water from the Southern Ocean with temperatures above the melting point of glaciers could reach the glaciers in East Antarctica, and if there are any obstacles on the seafloor of the shelf that impact the ability of such water to reach the glaciers and ice streams.

by |April 20, 2015

In the Ice

Several days ago we reached our main work areas along the margin of East Antarctica. Our expedition is relatively late in the season and the seas around Antarctica are starting to freeze.

by |April 10, 2015

Closing in on Antarctica

We are less than a day away from our first study area on the continental shelf in front of the Dibble Glacier. As we approach Antarctica we are starting our science program with a 4500 meter deep CTD and multibeam acquisition.

by |April 6, 2015

On Our Way: Avoiding the Storm

We are now aboard the R/V Palmer and on our way to East Antarctica. Due to two storms in our direct way we are heading west first to go around the storms and we’ll then head south on their backside.

by |March 30, 2015

Preparing for Seven Weeks at Sea

For our spring expedition, NBP1503, to the margin of East Antarctica we will live and work on board the United States icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer. Together we are eight scientists, 10 science support staff and 19 crew members of the ship’s crew.

by |March 23, 2015

Clock Is Ticking in West Antarctic

“The high-resolution records that we’re getting and the high-resolution models we’re able to make now are sort of moving the questions a little bit closer into human, understandable time frames.”

by |May 23, 2014