CAREER: The Transformation, Cross-shore Export, and along-shore Transport of Freshwater on Antarctic Shelves
Freshwater discharges from melting high-latitude continental ice glacial reserves strongly control salt budgets, circulation and associated ocean water mass formation arising from polar ice shelves. These are different in nature than freshwater inputs associated with riverine coastal inputs. The PI proposes an observational deployment to measure a specific, previously-identified example of a coastal freshwater-driven current, the Antarctic Peninsula Coastal Current (APCC).
The research component of this CAREER project aims to improve understanding of the dynamics of freshwater discharge around the Antarctic continent. Associated research questions pertain to the i) controls on the cross- and along-shelf spreading of fresh, buoyant coastal currents, ii) the role of distributed coastal freshwater sources (as opposed to 'point' source river outflow sources typical of lower latitudes), and iii) the contribution of these coastal currents to water mass transformation and heat transfer on the continental shelf. An educational CAREER program component leverages a series of field experiences and research outputs including data, model outputs, and theory, to bring polar science to the classroom and the general public, as well as training a new polar scientist. This combined strategy will allow the investigator to lay the foundation for a successful academic career as a researcher and teacher at the University of Delaware. The project will also provide the opportunity to train a PhD student. Informal outreach efforts will include giving public lectures at University of Deleware's sponsored events, including Coast Day, a summer event that attracts 8000-10000 people, and remote lectures from the field using an existing outreach network. This proposal requires fieldwork in the Antarctic.
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.
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