What Are They Doing?

Mr. Gillette and a team of researchers and technicians from the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) spent two months documenting conditions at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) divide using a variety of techniques, including weather observations, GPS, ice coring, radar, and seismic sensing. The team characterized the base of the ice sheet by determining, for example, the amount of water and sediments under the ice, which were used to help interpret ice core data. Similar measurements over time contributed to an improved understanding of, and ability to predict, the impact of changes in polar ice sheets on sea level and climate. Additional information about this project can be found at the project website.

Where Are They?

The research team worked at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) drill site, in western Antarctica. The WAIS divide sits on top of 3,485 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. The WAIS is bounded by the Ross Ice Shelf, the Ronne Ice Shelf, and outlet glaciers that drain into the Amundsen Sea.

Latest Journals

Special Guest, Melanie Miller Hello all!   I know it's been a long time since any of you have heard from me... I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, just ventured back south for another season at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.  I got a new job this season, which has been a great change! …
With the trip to Antarctica a year in the past, I have had more than enough time to reflect, get a new job, travel, reflect some more, and think of ideas for how to spread the word about the program and polar research in general.  I'd have to say that things have been quite successful! The weekend…
We are home, safe and sound! I apologize for the delay in posting a wrap-up journal. I came home to some family matters that needed some attention and then it was time to head back to school. This journal serves to reflect a little bit on the time in Antarctica, and hopefully provide a few other…
As my time wraps up here in Antarctica, I’d like to take a moment to reflect back on all the things that have happened.  While not much data was collected during my time, if you have been reading the journals, you’ll know that there has been more than enough stuff to write about.  The people, the…
Dates
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Location
West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), Antarctica
Project Funded Title
Surveying Conditions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet
Brandon Gillette - Teacher
Teacher
University of Kansas and the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS)

Brandon Gillette completed his undergraduate work at the University of Kansas in 2004 and his Masters of Education in 2006. For the past five years, he has taught junior high school and high school science in Olathe, Kansas. Mr. Gillette first worked with CReSIS in 2007-2008 as part of the PolarTREC program, partnering with scientists to spend five weeks in Antarctica as part of the Antarctica Ice Sheet Studies Expedition.

Mr. Gillette recently joined the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) and has returned to the University of Kansas as an education graduate research assistant where he has begun work on a PhD in geography and environmental science with an emphasis in GIS and remote sensing. He enjoys spending his free time with his wife and dog, traveling, and playing recreational sports, and will be running his first marathon in October 2010!

Sridhar Anandakrishnan - Researcher
Researcher
Pennsylvania State University

Sridhar Anandakrishnan is an Associate Professor at Penn State University in the Department of Geosciences and in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Institute. Dr. Anandakrishnan's research interests include studies of ice sheet stability and history, glacier flow dynamics, and the influence of crustal structure on Antarctic ice sheets. Dr. Anandakrishnan hopes that PolarTREC can help introduce students and the public to the role of Antarctica in the global system.

Huw Horgan - Researcher
Researcher
Pennsylvania State University

Huw Horgan is a PhD Candidate at Penn State University in the Department of Geosciences and is a member of the Penn State Ice and Climate group and CReSIS. Studying under Dr. Anandakrishnan, Huw Horgan's thesis addresses the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet using remote sensing and seismic techniques. Huw lead the field team and accompanyed Mr. Gilette to Antarctica.

Stephen Ingalls - Researcher
Researcher
University of Kansas

Stephen Ingalls is the Associate Director for Administration at the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), headquartered at the University of Kansas. Dr. Ingalls’s responsibilities include the day-to-day management of the Center’s activities and daily oversight of the Center's education and knowledge transfer programs. He hopes that PolarTREC will expand the network of educators that can help motivate the next generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

Antarctic Ice Sheet Studies Resources

Overview

Given sets of graphable data students will show that various viewpoints can be supported depending on how data is presented and interpreted. These may or may not be accurate or relevant representations of data results over time. This lesson contains basic graphing components, interpretation of information and communication to others of findings depicted in graphs.

Lesson
Arctic
Less than a week
Middle School and Up
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Overview

We all know that Antarctica is a very cold place, and the scientists who work there are not the only ones who have to worry about staying warm. The animals that live in Antarctica have to protect themselves from the frigid conditions on a year-round basis. In order to keep heat they produce from escaping into the environment, these animals are typically well insulated.

Lesson
Arctic
Less than a week
Elementary and Up
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PolarTREC teacher, Brandon Gillette is with a team of researchers from CReSIS and Penn State University studying the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, Antarctica. About 60 participants took part in the Live from IPY event.

In celebration of the International Polar Day and ice sheet themed Live from IPY event was held with ice sheet researchers from around the world, including some who called in from traverses presently crossing Antarctica. Due to technical difficulties, there is no audio on the Wimba archive. Audio will is separately accessible for the event.