245 – Glaciology Research at the Darwin Glacier

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Guest: Dana Floricioiu     Host: Markus Voelter    Shownoter: Andy Joiner

During my visit to DLR’s Earth Observation Center earlier this year I also talked to Dana Floricioiu about her work in glaciology. We discuss a couple of her recent publications, and then focus on her trip to the Darwin Glacier in Antarctica. Together with a team of fellow scientists, she camped on the glacier for three weeks to conduct various in-situ experiments. We discussed the work, but also life on the glacier.

You can find the blog about the trip here, it contains some interesting pictures as well.

You might also want to make sure you have listened to the episode on Antarctic Sea Ice; we reference it in this episode.

Finally, the film by Werner Herzog mentioned by Dana is available on Youtube. While searching for it, I also found this impressive movie about the break up of a huge iceberg.

Introduction

00:01:28

Dana Floricioiu | DLR | TerraSAR-X | Glacier | Ice sheet dynamics (Synthetic aperture radar - SAR | omega tau 229 - (Ant-)Arctic Sea Ice | omega tau 244 - SAR Satelliten und Satellitendatenarchivierung am EOC)  | Passive microwave | Ice stream | Antarctica | Patagonia | Remote sensing | Topography | Ice divide | Climate change | Ice mass changes | Precipitation | Radar penetrates ice and works in dark | 6 months of darkness | Mass balance modelling (Persistent Scatterer Interferometry - PSI)  | Coherence | Interferometric synthetic aperture radar | Interferogram | Displacement | Atmospheric effects | Deformation (Grounding line - The boundary between the floating ice shelf and the grounded (resting on bedrock) ice)  | Grounding line is evident due to the tide | If the ice is thinning, the grounding line migrates | Archimedes' principle | Sea-level rise (Mass balance - change of ice mass)  | Snowfall | Avalanche | Deposition | Melt | Re-freeze | Sublimation | Wind deposition | Calving | Calving video | Pío XI Glacier

Instruments

00:20:58

Geodetic | Surface elevation | SAR | Photogrammetry | Ground surveys | Airborne & spaceborne altimetry | Derive mass change from elevation change over time | Convert volume to mass based on density profile | Assume constant ice density over 10 year study | Mass loss is evident | Derive the rate of loss also | Error estimation | 3cm per year accuracy (Example error of 0.4 gigaton/year when measuring 13 gigaton/year - around 5%)  | Comparing satellite vs aircraft measurements | Subglacial lake | Operation IceBridge | Airborne Topographic Mapper | No penetration with laser sensor | CryoSat (omega tau 46 - NASA TC4 Project)  | Satellite passes every 11 days

TIDEx Campaign

00:42:01

Darwin Glacier | 700m-1000m ice thickness | Study stress in ice | Elasticity | Viscoelasticity | Ice sheet modelling | Flux | GPS (DGPS - Differential GPS | GPS base station and along the glaciers - 2 weeks)  | Tiltmeter for precise height (pRES to measure ice thickness - 1mm accuracy)  | TIDEx blog | Christian Wild's TIDEx blog | Team of 4 | University of Canterbury | Gateway Antarctica

Harsh environment

01:02:15

Chill factor | Temperatures around -12°C to -2°C | Sun always up | 9 hour work days | Crevasse (Steep inclines - runaway sledges)  | Survival bag | VHF radio | Iridium satellite phone | Twin otter | Scheduled communication | V thread/anchor | V thread/anchor | 45 knot wind speed

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