Remote Antarctic Glacier Is Disappearing From Below
Scientists watching Antarctica’s Pine Island glacier from space have noticed with some alarm that it has been surging toward the sea.
If it were to melt entirely, global sea level would rise by several feet.
Scientists have rarely been able to get out to this very remote glacier to make direct measurements. But scientists from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey have completed a difficult mission to drill through the glacier in order to study it.
Pine Island Glacier is really, really remote. It’s 1,800 miles from McMurdo, the U.S. base-station in Antarctica, so just getting there is a challenge.
Tim Stanton, oceanography research professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, not only wanted to get to it, he wanted to get to it with 20,000 pounds of gear, so they could drill into it.
The Naval Postgraduate School team is about to deploy ocean monitoring instruments through a bore hole into the ocean cavity below.
Image courtesy of Tim Stanton
“This was a granddaddy of a problem,” Stanton says.
Stanton and about a dozen colleagues spent several years planning this mission, which involved multiple aircraft and remote support camps. In fact, they took four trips to Antarctica before they finally succeeded.