Histories of accumulation, thickness and WAIS Divide location from radar layers using a new inverse approach
WAIS Divide Ice Core
This award supports development of a new modeling approach that will extract information about past snow accumulation rate in both space and time in the vicinity of the future ice core near the Ross-Amundsen divide of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Internal layers, detected by ice-penetrating radar, are isochrones, or former ice-sheet surfaces that have been buried by subsequent snowfall, and distorted by ice flow. Extensive ice-penetrating radar data are available over the inland portion of the WAIS. Layers have been dated back to 17,000 years before present. The radar data add the spatial dimension to the temporally resolved accumulation record from ice cores. Accumulation rates are traditionally derived from the depths of young, shallow layers, corrected for strain using a local 1-D ice-flow model. Older, deeper layers have been more affected by flow over large horizontal distances. However, it is these deeper layers that contain information on longer-term climate patterns. This project will use geophysical inverse theory and a 2.5D flow-band ice-flow forward model comprising ice-surface and layer-evolution modules, to extract robust transient accumulation patterns by assimilating multiple deeper, more-deformed layers that have previously been intractable. Histories of divide migration, geothermal flux, and surface evolution will also be produced. The grant will support the PhD research of a female graduate student who is a mentor to female socio-economically disadvantaged high-school students interested in science, through the University of Washington Women's Center. It will also provide a research
experience for an undergraduate student, and contribute to a freshman seminar on Scientific Research.
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