The movement of warmer ocean water through or around relatively cooler ice sheets has the potential to lead to increased melting of the ice sheets. This project will determine the potential vulnerability of key ice streams to the infiltration of warmer ocean water and whether this could explain any of the observed thinning of the ice sheet. It will provide important information about a particular section of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and therefore will be critical for future ice sheet models and investigations into the ice sheet's contributions to sea levels.
The research team will be traveling on-board the icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer. The expedition will begin in New Zealand or Australia and will travel along the East Antarctic Margin and return to Punta Arenas, Chile. The vessel is named after Nathaniel Palmer, the first American credited with sighting Antarctica. It can operate safely year-round in Antarctic waters, and is capable of supporting approximately four dozen scientists on expeditions that last for months. Learn more about life aboard the N.B. Palmer here.
Dominique Richardson received her Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from UCLA and her Master of Science in Environmental Science from CSULA. While she has always had a strong interest in science and research, in 2005 Dominique began working as a teaching assistant and has been engrossed in science education ever since. Dominique’s love of hands-on, inquiry based learning has lead her from her beginnings in formal science teaching to working as an informal science educator. Dominique currently works at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium where she mentors students on how to develop and execute their own original, independent research projects and teaches both students and the public about the ocean, marine life and marine conservation. When she’s not teaching or caring for animals at work, Dominique loves to travel, take lots of photos and spend time outdoors with her husband and dog.
Frank O. Nitsche received a MS in geophysics from the University of Kiel, Germany and a PhD from the University of Bremen, Germany. In 2001 he came to the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University where he started as a postdoctoral researcher and is now a research scientist. There he studies sediment processes and morphological conditions of the Hudson River Estuary and the Long Island Sound. In addition, he investigates the morphology of the Antarctic continental margin and is reconstructing the path of past ice streams and related sediment transport processes. He has participated in six expeditions to Antarctica and its surrounding Southern Ocean where he used acoustic mapping techniques and oceanographic measurements to understand past and present processes that shape the Antarctic continental margins and affect the ice sheet. He is involved in the creation of the International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean. Read more about Dr. Nitsche here.