Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Stefan W Vogel, Ph.D

Northern Illinois University, Dept of Geology and Environmental Geosciences

Global Climate Change and Technological Challenges


Wednesday — June 2, 2010
Pacific Forum — 3:00 p.m.

Antarctica is one of the coldest and driest places on Earth. Yet water generated through entrapment of geothermal heat beneath kilometer thick ice plays a key role in the dynamic of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. In addition to influencing the flux of ice to the ocean and thus global sea level, the flux of subglacially derived fresh water to the ocean influences global ocean circulation and delivers nutrients, which help fertilizing the ocean.
In this talk we will investigate these ice-ocean climate linkages as well as the scientific and technological challenges studying micro-scale subglacial processes through kilometer thick ice beneath the vastness of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.
A specific challenge for exploring subglacial environments is the limited access through narrow ice boreholes. Taking on these challenges the NIU-Sub Ice ROV (SIR) transforms from its through ice deployment mode into a sub-ice flight mode, providing roving capability in large sub-ice cavities. Other instrument developments to study subglacial environments as part of the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling project (WISSARD) are a Geochemical Instrumentation Package for Sub Ice Exploration (GIPSIE), an Ice Tethered Profiler and a new suction less active source sediment coring system, each of them having to overcome their own scientific and technological challenges.

Next: June 16 - Glenn Chen