Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Radar opens new window into the ice for Antarctic scientists

18.10.2006
Scientists are getting their first glimpse into the inner secrets of an ice shelf, thanks to the innovative application of a new radar technique developed by British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

Getting a clearer view of how ice behaves is important because it will help scientists predict more accurately how the ice sheet will respond to future climate change. The results are published this week in the Journal of Glaciology.

Using phase-sensitive radar – an exceptionally accurate version of the systems used by ships and aircraft to detect objects in their path – Dr Adrian Jenkins and colleagues from BAS studied the internal structure of the enormous Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, as well as the rate at which the bottom of the ice shelf is melting.

Lead author Dr Jenkins of BAS says, "The radar provides an unprecedented insight into the flow of the ice shelf. Internal structures are formed as layers of snow are laid down each year. These layers produce radar reflections that give us a totally new view of the internal workings of an ice sheet. This will help us understand how the ice flows and improve our ability to predict how the ice sheet as a whole will evolve in the future, which is important because growth or shrinkage of the ice sheet has a direct impact on global sea level."

As well as shedding new light on the makeup of the ice shelf, Dr Jenkins and his colleagues used the phase-sensitive radar to measure the rate at which the underside of the ice shelf is melting. These are the first-ever direct measurements of ice shelf melting and are extraordinarily accurate. According to Dr Jenkins,

"The new technique allows us to measure centimetre-scale changes in the 2-km thickness of the ice. We found that an average of 1 m of ice is melted from the bottom of the ice shelf every year. At this rate, all the ice lost by melting can be replenished by flow of ice from upstream, so that this part of the ice shelf is showing no signs of change. Elsewhere in Antarctica ice shelves and ice streams are thinning and now we have a tool to measure the thinning rates to unparalleled accuracy."

Athena Dinar | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bas.ac.uk
http://www.antarctica.ac.uk

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Stagnation in the South Pacific Explains Natural CO2 Fluctuations
23.02.2018 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

nachricht First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals
22.02.2018 | University of Arizona

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>