Project Information
RAPID: High-Resolution Gravity for Thwaites Glacier
Start Date:
End Date:
Thwaites (ITGC)
Considerable uncertainty remains in projections of future ice loss from West Antarctica. A recent decadal style U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report entitled: A Strategic Vision for NSF Investments in Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research (2015) identifies changing ice in Antarctica as one of the highest priority science problems facing communities around the globe. The report identifies Thwaites Glacier as a target for collaborative intense research efforts in the coming years. This project contributes to that effort by deploying an instrument on board airborne surveys that will help to constrain the unknown terrains beneath the Thwaites Ice Shelf and in the region of the grounding line where the inland ice goes afloat. By improving the accuracy and resolution of these data, which are fed into predictive numerical models, the team will help to constrain the magnitude and rate of increase in the contribution of ice from Thwaites Glacier to the global ocean.

The team will enhance the capabilities of the already planned British Antarctic Survey aerogeophysics survey of Thwaites Glacier during the 2018/19 field season. Their Inertial Measurement Unit will be paired with a state-of-the-art commercial gravity meter to acquire high-quality and significantly enhanced resolution data both over the ice shelf and at the grounding line. Data will be processed immediately following collection and raw and observed data will be released six months after collection.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Person Role
Tinto, Kirsty Investigator and contact
Bell, Robin
Porter, David
Antarctic Glaciology Award # 1842064
Antarctic Instrumentation and Facilities Award # 1842064
Antarctic Instrumentation and Support Award # 1842064
Antarctic Integrated System Science Award # 1842064
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Deployment Type
ITGC National Capability Survey 2019 airborne survey
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
0 (raw data)
  1. Constantino, R. R., Tinto, K. J., Bell, R. E., Porter, D. F., & Jordan, T. A. (2020). Seafloor Depth of George VI Sound, Antarctic Peninsula, From Inversion of Aerogravity Data. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(21). (doi:10.1029/2020gl088654)

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