Cresis Aerial Survey of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet
Meet the Team
Teacher - Gary Wesche
Gary Wesche teaches middle school science at St. John Francis Regis Catholic School, but prior to being a classroom teacher Mr. Wesche was a full-time dad, professional storyteller, and musical theater actor. He continues to link these experiences of acting, traveling, singing, parenting, and story telling to his teaching in ways that draw his students to learning. He pledges to have no student pass through his classes without an ample opportunity to experience the fun of life as a scientist. Mr. Wesche enjoys travelling, singing, gardening, learning, and playing with his wife and six children in their 110 year old mansion next door to the Kansas City Zoo. Mr. Wesche plans to use this PolarTREC experience to convey to his students and the public the relevance and excitement of scientific study and research, and give his students the chance to believe that they too can explore, discover, and travel the globe in their lifetime.
Where are They?
Located near the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide field camp, the team will work primarily out of the newly established Byrd Camp. Both camps are located on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, a section of the continental glacier that covers the Antarctic continent west of the Transantarctic Mountains. The camp sits on top of over 3,000 meters of ice, thicker than 9 Empire State Buildings stacked on top of one another! The WAIS is classified as a marine-based ice sheet, meaning that its bed lies well below sea level and its edges flow into floating ice shelves.
What are they Doing?
Initially, the CReSIS team will be working at McMurdo Station preparing and outfitting a Twin Otter airplane with equipment that will be used to conduct aerial radar surveys of glaciers at remote field camps. Being used as a platform for conducting the experiments, the airplane will be mounted with instruments that measure ice thickness, map ice layers, and conduct SAR-imaging-a form of radar that produces high-resolution maps of the ice surface.
In early December, after aircraft preparations have been completed, the team will travel to Byrd Camp, a remote camp on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, to conduct the aerial surveys. Each day, weather permitting, the team will take off, fly over area glaciers, and come back to camp. When they arrive back at camp, the team will download and process the data that was collected by the instruments.
Although many of the areas that will be surveyed have been largely undiscovered, the survey work will include flights over Thwaites Glacier (75.5°S 106.75°W). Part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Thwaites Glacier is one of the largest and most rapidly thinning glaciers in Antarctica.
At the core of CReSIS's work, the data collected during this project will be integrated with other research efforts and data to create a 3-D visualization of the ice sheet to model and assess the potential impacts of ice sheets to future sea level rise.
|Byrd Camp, Antarctica with Gary Wesche and CReSIS Team||11 January 2010||Live event with Gary Wesche and the CReSIS team about aerial survey work at Byrd Camp, Antarctica...||Event|
|Byrd Camp, Antarctica with Gary Wesche and CReSIS Team||7 January 2010||Live event with PolarTREC teacher Gary Wesche and members of the CReSIS Team from Byrd Camp,...||Event|
|Byrd Camp, Antarctica with Gary Wesche and CReSIS Team||17 December 2009||Live from IPY event with PT Gary Wesche and members of the CReSIS team. The team called in from...||Event|
|EPA head kicks off volunteering effort in KC||23 June 2009||Gary Wesche, a PolarTREC teacher and board president of the Blue River Watershed Association,...||Article|