Glaciological Characteristics of the Ross/Amundsen Sea Ice-flow Divide Deduced by a New Analysis of Ice-penetrating Radar Data
WAIS Divide Ice Core
This award supports an investigation of spatial variations of ice temperature and subglacial conditions using available ice-penetrating radar data around a future deep ice coring site near the Ross and Amundsen flow divide of West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Besides geometry of reflection layers the focus will be on intensities of radar echoes from within ice deeper than several hundred meters and will also examine echoes from the bed. Preliminary studies on theory and comparison with Japanese radar data from East Antarctica suggest that large spatial variations of the vertical gradient of radar echoes from within ice exist and are caused primarily by ice temperature and secondarily by crystal-orientation fabric. The hypothesis that the vertical gradient is a proxy of ice temperature will be tested. The project will utilize an existing data set from the Support Office for Aerogeophysical Research in Antarctica (SOAR) and will complement work already underway at University of Texas to analyze the radar data. The project will provide undergraduate research experience with an emphasis on computer analysis of time series and large data sets as well as development of web-based resource of results and methods and will support an international collaboration between US and Japan through discussions on the preliminary results from their study sites. Practical procedures developed through this study will be downloadable from the project's web site in the third year and will allow investigation of other ice sheets using existing radar data sets. This project will contribute to the interpretation of the future inland West Antarctic ice core and will help in the understanding of ice sheet history and climate change.
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