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.
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 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 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.