Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Radar opens new window into the ice for Antarctic scientists

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:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic
24.10.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

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

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

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...

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

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>