Project Information
Collaborative Research: Sloccum Glider in Western Antarctic Peninsula Continental Shelf Waters Pilot Study
The Antarctic Peninsula (AP) is characterized by (1) the most rapid recent regional (winter) warming (5.35 times global mean), (2) a loss of nearly all its perennial sea ice cover on its western margin, and (3) 87% of the glaciers in retreat, contributing to global sea level rise. An ability to understand this change depends upon researchers' ability to better understand the underlying sources of this change and their driving mechanisms. Despite intensive efforts, the western AP (WAP) is chronically under-sampled. Therefore developing a capability to maintain a sustained in situ presence is a high scientific priority. The current proposal addresses this critical need through 2 objectives: (1) establish the feasibility of a Slocum Webb ocean glider to enable real-time high resolution data-adaptive polar oceanographic research; (2) address a critical question involving the regional climate change by measuring the ocean heat budget within a grid containing 14 years of ship-based ocean snapshots. This will involve the launch of the glider during the PAL-LTER austral summer research cruise, where it will fly the full along-shore distance of the LTER sample grid to be recovered at the southern extreme when the ship arrives there later in the summer. The glider will provide nearly continuous ocean property (temperature, salinity and pressure) coverage over this distance.

Intellectual merit. The proposed activity will involve state of the art sampling methodology that will revolutionize the ability to address climate change and other scientific issues requiring sampling densities that could not be achieved by research vessels. Specifically, the adaptive sampling capability of the glider will be used to alter its course allowing identification of routes by which the source waters of the ocean heat (and nutrients) enter the continental shelf region, while the near-continuous sampling will provide a diagnosis of how well standard shipborne stations close the heat budget. Resources are adequate for this study due to heavy leveraging by the availability of the Rutgers SLOCUM Web glider, glider control center and participation of the team of experts that flew the first such glider.

Broader Impacts. The proposed activity will advance discovery and understanding of the WAP responses to climate variability, to study the intricate feedback mechanisms associated with this variability and to better understand the chemical and physical processes associated with climate change. The data will be made available across the World Wide Web as it is collected, almost in real time, a potential bonanza for scientists during the upcoming International Polar Year, for classroom instruction and general outreach. Society will ultimately benefit from the improved knowledge of how climate change elsewhere in the world is impacting the unique ecosystem of the Antarctic, and driving glacial melt (sea level rise), among its other influences.
Person Role
Martinson, Douglas Investigator
Kerfoot, John Co-Investigator
Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Award # 0701232
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
Not provided
Platforms and Instruments

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