Collaborative Research: Dynamics and Climatic Response of the Taylor Glacier System
This award supports a project to significantly improve our understanding of how Taylor Glacier flows and responds to climate changes. Taylor Glacier drains the Taylor Dome region of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and terminates in Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys of Victoria Land. It provides a crucial and unique link between two intensively studied Antarctic environments: the Taylor Dome, from which a 130 kyr ice core paleoclimate record has recently been extracted, and the Dry Valleys, a pivotal Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site and a focus of research on geomorphology and glacial geology. The proposed work will thus make an important contribution to ongoing efforts to exploit the Taylor Dome - Dry Valleys system to build a uniquely comprehensive view of regional long-term environmental changes. The proposed work has two complementary components: field research and numerical modelling. Two field seasons will be used to measure velocity, surface strain rate, mass balance, ice thickness, glacier bed reflectance, and subglacial topography, along a nearly complete longitudinal transect of the Taylor Glacier, and along select cross-valley transects. This information will be used to constrain numerical models of ice and heat flow for the Taylor Dome - Taylor Glacier system. These calibrated models will be used to analyze the time-dependent response of the Taylor Glacier to climate changes. The synthesis of results will be aimed to improve understanding of the glacial geomorphology of Taylor Valley, and to illuminate impacts on the Taylor Valley lakes ecosystem. The project will have a major role in furthering the careers of a doctoral-level graduate student and a post-doctoral researcher.
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