What Are They Doing?

Initially, the CReSIS team worked at McMurdo Station preparing and outfitting a Twin Otter airplane with equipment that was used to conduct aerial radar surveys of glaciers at remote field camps. Since it was used as a platform for conducting the experiments, the airplane was mounted with instruments that measured ice thickness, mapped ice layers, and conducted SAR-imaging – a form of radar that produces high-resolution maps of the ice surface.

In early December 2009, after aircraft preparations were completed, the team traveled to Byrd Camp, a remote camp on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, to conduct the aerial surveys. Each day (when weather permitted), the team took off, flew over area glaciers, and came back to camp. When they arrived back at camp, the team downloaded and processed the data that was collected by the instruments.

Although many of the areas that were surveyed were previously largely undiscovered, the survey work included 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 was 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.

Where Are They?

Located near the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide field camp, the team worked primarily out of 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.

Latest Journals

Hello Trekkers, I am home safe and sound. My beard is a lot longer. Just the fact that I have a beard is kind of funny. At least now it is freshly showered!!! I began by travels home on Tuesday the 12th from Byrd Surface Camp. I flew on a LC-130 cargo plane to McMurdo Station. After dashing…
Hi Trekkers,Hello from Byrd Surface Camp on the continent of Antarctica Byrd camp location elevation 5230 feet lat. S 80.03 long. W 119.61 Can you find Antarctica on a globe or on a map? I am traveling with my friend, Gary Wesche. He is a Polartrec teacher Flat Stanley with Gary Wesche in…
You have met Chad Brown a member of our team from Polar Grid.Data backup man!!! {photo of Chad 1 of 6] He along with Keith Lehigh represent Polar Grid and brought to the field the computer processors which enable the team to get a first look at the data to ensure that all the equipment is in…
If you did all your planning correctly we are ready to go. Now we wait until Lexi determines if the weather in all the locations of our grid, fueling caches, and at Byrd is going to be weather we can fly in. If any one of the locations has or is expecting bad weather or low visibility the flight is…
West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide, Antarctica
Project Funded Title
Surveying Conditions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet
Gary Wesche - Teacher
St. John Francis Regis School

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.

Carl Leuschen - Researcher
University of Kansas

Cresis Aerial Survey of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Resources

Live event with Gary Wesche and the CReSIS team about aerial survey work at Byrd Camp, Antarctica. Event was a repeat event from 7 January.

Live event with PolarTREC teacher Gary Wesche and members of the CReSIS Team from Byrd Camp, Antarctica. Presentation about the science being conducted from the camp and introduction to POLENET.

Live from IPY event with PT Gary Wesche and members of the CReSIS team. The team called in from Byrd Camp on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to talk about their aerial surveys as well as what it's like to be in Antarctica.

Gary Wesche, a PolarTREC teacher and board president of the Blue River Watershed Association, operated a community cleanup along with more than 30 of his students at St. John Francis Regis School. The head of the EPA was also on hand for the event.

All Aged