Antarctica

Antarctic Ice showing crevassing along the edges of flow. photo J. Spergle

Let’s Talk About Crevasses—Deep Fractures in Antarctica’s Ice

The word “crevasse” sends shivers down the spine of anyone who works on a glacier. Sometimes hundreds of feet deep and hidden beneath a thin layer of snow, these cracks have claimed the lives of many polar explorers and scientists. They also appear quite frequently in our sensors as we fly our survey flights for Rosetta-Ice.

by |November 16, 2017
Flying past the Trans-Antarctic Mountains that line the East side of the Ross Shelf. Photo credit: Susan Howard

Flying is Easy, Just Think Happy Thoughts…

For scientists mapping Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf, data collection flights require a demanding schedule: The day starts at 4am and sometimes continues throughout the night.

by |November 7, 2017
An official 'proof'! My photo by the McMurdo sign is proof that we have really made it here after a lot of anticipation!!

Settling in at McMurdo Station in Antarctica

Even though our tent is within a short drive of McMurdo (a small town with most of the safety and logistical equipment on the entire continent), we still need to prepare ourselves for sudden, extreme weather. Every time we leave the relative safety of McMurdo, we carry our Extreme Cold Weather equipment and our tent has emergency food and sleeping equipment.

by |November 2, 2017
The Dumont d'Urville base where winds have been recorded at 199 mph. (photo credit Samuel Blanc)

What’s a Few Days’ Delay When Preparing to Visit a 33 Million-Year-Old Ice Sheet?

With the Rosetta-Ice team delayed in New Zealand, let’s take a minute to discuss why Antarctica’s weather is so forbidding.

by |October 24, 2017
Moving across the ice with IcePod in the front and active Volcano Mt. Erebus in the distance.

Final Stop: Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf

We have embarked! Our third Antarctic field season is underway, putting us only 18 flights away from completing our mission to map the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in Antarctica.

by |October 20, 2017
Team members taking a short ice core to study properties of sediment coming from the East Antarctic ice sheet. (Photo: Mike Kaplan)

East Antarctic Ice Sheet Should Remain Stable Even if the West Melts

A new look inside the ice sheet validates predictions that it probably won’t melt as quickly as its neighbor—good news, since East Antarctica contains enough water to raise sea levels by 200 feet.

by |August 18, 2017
Image: MIDAS Project

One of Largest Icebergs Ever Breaks off Antarctica

One of the largest icebergs ever – roughly the size of Delaware – just broke off of Antarctica, according to scientists who have been observing the area for years. While it’s not unusual for ice shelves to calve, many in the climate community fear that the breaking of Larsen C may be a signal of other events to come.

by |July 12, 2017
Researchers have found the remains of an ancient lakebed off the edge of Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier, on what is now the seafloor. Such lakes lying today under the ice sheet may speed the flow of glaciers. (M. Turrin/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)

Meltwater Lakes Existed Under Antarctic Ice in Ancient Times

In recent years, scientists have discovered hundreds of lakes lying hidden deep beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Now a team of researchers has found the remains of at least one sub-ice lake that existed when the ice was far more extensive, in sediments on the Antarctic continental shelf.

by |June 1, 2017
The "Ice Pod" instrument array deployed off the side of a military cargo plane over Antarctica. Photo: Winnie Chu/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Lamont Scientists Are Focus of NY Times Multimedia Series

This past winter, reporters from the New York Times went along for the ride with scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory as they flew their mission of discovery over Antarctica.

by |May 22, 2017
Scientists have discovered that seasonally flowing streams fringe much of Antarctica’s ice. Each red ‘X’ represents a separate drainage. Up to now, such features were thought to exist mainly on the far northerly Antarctic Peninsula (upper left). Their widespread presence signals that the ice may be more vulnerable to melting than previously thought. (Adapted from Kingslake et al., Nature 2017)

Water Is Streaming Across Antarctica

In the first such continent-wide survey, scientists have found extensive drainages of meltwater flowing over parts of Antarctica’s ice during the brief summer. Many of the newly mapped drainages are not new, but the fact they exist at all is significant; they appear to proliferate with small upswings in temperature, so warming projected for this century could quickly magnify their influence on sea level.

by |April 19, 2017