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.”
Margie Turrin, Author at State of the Planet - Page 2 of 6
LiDar (Light Detection and Ranging) is a remote sensing technique that uses light to develop an elevation image of the surface of the Earth. It is sensitive enough to image small items such as seals lying on the ice surface.
The latest team celebration is around the magnetometer data. Magnetics has evolved quite a bit over the years of geophysical sampling. Lamont scientist Robin Bell recalls when in the 1990s working on a project in West Antarctica that the magnetometer was towed on a winch ~100 meters behind the aircraft – now it is nearly cheek to cheek with other instruments!
The lines of data are slowly creeping across our Ross Ice Shelf GIS map and with each new line comes an improved understanding of Ross Ice Shelf. What can you learn from a ‘snapshot’ of data? A radar contains a nice story.
The Ross Ice Shelf is much like the Rosetta Stone. The historic stone inscribed in three scripts told the same story but in different tongues, so when matched together scholars could decode an ancient language. The Antarctic Rosetta Project also brings together three different “scripts,” each written by an Earth system; the ice, the ocean and the underlying bed each have a story to tell.
Completing an “Ice Station” means collecting samples over a wide range of Arctic water and ice conditions. Each station means a major orchestration of people and resources.
The Arctic is magical, that we know, but when one ship multiplies to hundreds of small boats we really see the effect that Arctic magic can bring.
We are closing in on a week of intense focus and excitement for GEOTRACES and for the United States around the Arctic. President Obama became the first sitting president to visit Alaska, the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy with US GEOTRACES scientists completed the first unaccompanied US surface vessel transit to the North Pole, and the first group ever to collect trace metals at the North Pole! You might assume these three items are unrelated, but they are in fact tightly linked.
For the sampling GEOTRACES is doing in the Arctic there is a specific goal of collecting just the top few dozen centimeters of sediment and the water just above it. Although the plan was good, things don’t always go perfectly.
Scouring Arctic for Traces of Fukushima and Cosmic Rays
Sounds like the basis for a great scifi thriller…”scientists scour Arctic, hunting for traces of nuclear fallout and ejections from cosmic ray impacts”. In reality this thriller theme is the actual core of the GEOTRACES mission.