Summary: Tears in Antarctic Ice

As was discussed in the abstract, there has been a net loss of ice around Antarctica throughout the past decades, and much of this ice loss is due to iceberg calving. The process of iceberg calving begins with rift propagation, which can be analogized similarly to tearing a piece of paper.

 

The first part of this project has involved better understanding the “how” behind changes in the loose tooth fork rift in the Amery Ice Shelf. My biggest focus in this phase of the research was estimating the rates of the rift’s lengthening, widening, and shifting in position; and whether these rates have remained constant, changed over time, and/or even changed cyclically. As I expected unfortunately, it proved to be challenging to deduce any strongly correlating trends over time. I also wanted to more closely examine the irregular path of the rift’s propagation, but I did not devote the time to exploring this phenomenon. Though I did additionally take note of both the benefits to, and limitations of, studying remotely sensed data, both in general and as it applies specifically to Antarctica.

 

The second part of this project has involved better understanding the “why” behind changes in the loose tooth fork rift in the Amery Ice Shelf. To investigate this, I selected several potential forcings that could influence the behavior of the AIS, including ocean temperatures as a threat from underneath; sea ice concentration as a threat from the surrounding waters; and air temperatures as a threat from above. I had the time to compile these and analyze trends within the sets, but I have not yet compared these forcings’ trends against the rift’s trends. That is something I will be doing throughout the fall semester.

 

I am excited to see where this research journey continues to take me, and I hope you will continue to join me for it!

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