Antarctica

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Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork: 2017 and Beyond

On every continent and ocean, Earth Institute field researchers are studying the dynamics of climate, geology, natural hazards, ecology and other subjects with direct applications to the challenges facing humanity.

by |March 6, 2017
Coauthor Pierre Dutrieux with an instrument that detects fluctuations in ocean water, Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica, Jan. 31, 2017. A similar instrument was used to show why fresh water from melting ice shelves settles far below the surface instead of rising. (Courtesy Pierre Dutrieux/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Scientists Say They Now Know Why Antarctic Meltwater Stays Below Ocean Surface

Up to now, it has been a mystery why much of the fresh water resulting from the melting of Antarctic ice shelves ends up in the depths instead of floating above saltier, denser ocean waters. Scientists working along one major ice shelf believe they have found the answer.

by |February 2, 2017
Scientists launch a Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System (MOCNESS) from the R/V Gould off the West Antarctic Peninsula. When towed behind a research vessel, the system’s nets collect plankton while sensors provide real-time information about the physical properties of the seawater. Photo: Naomi Shelton/LDEO

Antarctic Scientists Honor Obama by Collecting Climate Data

Researchers studying the West Antarctic Peninsula marine ecosystem will recognize President Obama’s efforts to combat global warming by collecting climate data at an oceanographic station they named for the 44th president.

by |January 19, 2017
Antarctica-Fabio_icefront_IMG_4573-copy2

Looking at Climate from All the Angles

The Earth Institute digs into the past, tracks the present and models the future of climate. We explore the broader issues surrounding climate change, seek ways to apply our knowledge to real solutions, and nurture collaboration among faculty and researchers in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, law, public health, engineering, architecture and urban planning.

by |December 16, 2016
Photo: 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 first of six ALAMO floats parachutes into the Ross Sea off Antarctica to begin profiling the water. Their mission is to check for areas where warmer than normal water could put the Ross Ice Shelf at risk. Photo: Tej Dhakal/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Antarctica Has a New Explorer in the Water Near a Key Ice Shelf

The first of six ALAMO floats parachuted into the Ross Sea off Antarctica to begin profiling the water in a check for areas where warmer than normal water could put the Ross Ice Shelf at risk.

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
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
Antarctica. Courtesy of the Long Term Ecological Research Network

What Happens to Ecosystems When Antarctica’s Ice Melts?

A special section in the October issue of BioScience featuring research by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientists examines the effects of intense melting on two Antarctic ecosystems, tracking impacts all the way from microbial food webs to shifting penguin populations.

by |October 13, 2016