Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Giant project to test Antarctic ice stability


If rising global temperatures cause the ice streams of Western Antarctica to break up, major cities and agricultural heartlands the world over would be submerged. Researchers from the University of Leeds’ School of Geography are set to embark on a £1m, three-year project to find out exactly how stable they are.

The project, the biggest of its kind to date, will drill up to 2.2km down into the Rutford ice stream in Western Antarctica to determine its stability and see how close it is to breaking up.

There are about a dozen ice streams in Western Antarctica, moving currents of ice on the ice sheet which are hundreds of kilometres long and up to 25km wide. It is thought that if they begin to melt they could break up, leading to even more rapid melting and a disastrous increase in sea levels.

The researcher, Tavi Murray of geography, will collaborate with British Antarctic Survey scientists to drill down into the ice sheet using hot water drilling equipment.

They will take samples from the ice column, collect sediments to see whether there was sea rather than ice at any time in the past, carry out seismic tests and monitor the ways water flows under the huge pressures of the ice above.

Dr Murray said: “Ice streams are like plugs in a plughole and we want to find out what will make the plug bigger or smaller. We hope to find out whether the ice stream has been stable in the past so we can determine its future stability. If it starts to melt it would begin to float and we could see a catastrophic break-up.”

It is estimated that if the Antarctic ice sheet melted, sea levels would rise by 75 metres, submerging most of the world’s major cities and agricultural areas.

Vanessa Bridge | University of Leeds
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>