Now Archived! PolarConnect event with Jennifer Bault and researchers Hongjie Xie and Yongli Gao studying Seasonal Ice Production in the Ross Sea in Antarctica. You can access this and other events on the PolarConnect Archives site.
What Are They Doing?
In situ measurements and airborne surveys of snow depth and sea ice thickness are key for improving estimates of sea ice production and water mass transformation in the Ross Sea. The principle objective of this scientific expedition based on McMurdo Station is part of the PIPERS: Polynyas and Ice Production in the Ross Sea, project to fully capture the space/time evolution of the air-sea-ice interactions initiated during autumn and tracked into winter/spring in the Ross Sea. This project will collaborate with a New Zealand team to measure snow and ice thickness of the fast ice in McMurdo Sound, for validation of sea ice thickness imaged from airborne IcePod’s Shallow Ice Sounding Radar, and also mapping pack ice thickness and types from IcePod’s lidar, visible and thermal cameras. These data will be compared with ice thickness measurements from NASA’s IceBridge mission in the Ross Sea to extend the sea ice thickness measurements in this region to multi-years. PolarTREC teacher Jennifer Bault will be a full participant in sampling and conducting geophysical field measurements of the snow and ice, with a possibility to get onto IcePod flights to watch the scientific data collections from different types of sensors onboard IcePod.
More information about the PIPERS project and a cruise blog can be found here.
Where Are They?
The PolarTREC teacher will be stationed in McMurdo Station and will travel to nearby fast ice, ice shelf, mountain and glaciers to gain first hand experiences of the Antarctic cryosphere.
Stephen Ackley is a research associate professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and has worked and conducted sea-ice research in Antarctica for more than 30 years. He previously worked with the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) and then joined the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Texas San Antonio in 2006. Ackley Point in Antarctica was named to honor Ackley for his outstanding sea-ice work by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Ackley Point is an ice covered point located near McMurdo Sound.
Hongjie Xie is a professor at the Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at San Antonio. His specialty is remote sensing for hydrology and cryosphere studies. In-situ measurements and field experiences are crucial in helping scientists to understand and interpret what we see from the satellite images and to develop and improve algorithms for retrieving geophysical properties of objects imaged from satellite sensors. Since 2006, he and his research team have been traveled (over 10 times) to the three Polar Regions (Arctic, Antarctic, and Tibetan Plateau) for data collections and experiments. His main research focus has been on mapping sea ice, snow cover, glacier lakes and their changes under the warming climate. Since 2010, he has been a co-lead (funded by NASA and U.S. Department of Education) for summer workshops, specifically designed for K-12 educators to gaining knowledge on earth and environmental science/engineering, including the polar science and climate changes.