26 November 2018

Antarctic Expedition Underway

Thin Ice team on side tripEn route to Antarctica, expedition members take a side trip to Torres Del Paine National Park. Left to right: Clément Miège (Rutgers University), Ted Scambos (CIRES), Lynn Montgomery (CU-Boulder), Bruce Wallin (NSIDC). Photo credit: Clément Miège.

CIRES and NSIDC scientists Ted Scambos and Bruce Wallin are traveling to Antarctica. On the frozen continent, they plan to study snow, namely the fact that some of that snow isn't so frozen.

Surveys from NASA's Operation IceBridge indicate that some Antarctic snow is waterlogged, and where that snow overlies ice shelves—floating tongues of ice fringing the continent—the water content could lead to ice-shelf fracturing. Water may seep into cracks and, because water is denser than snow, it can deepen the cracks it has filled and eventually slide through the ice shelf. When an ice shelf fragments, the glaciers feeding that shelf can accelerate and slide into the ocean, ultimately raising ocean levels.

You can follow the research team's progress, read about previous research, and learn about the team members—including the expedition team and support staff—at the expedition blog: On Thin Ice (https://iceshelf.wordpress.com/).