Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Uncovering secrets of the Antarctic

A Northumbria University academic is to travel to the West Antarctic to investigate ice streams which are critical to understanding how the area as a whole will respond to climate change.

Glaciologist Dr John Woodward will use radar and seismics to map and understand the movement of water underneath the ice sheet and look at how that changes the way the ice moves to the sea.

The seismic technique involves using high explosives to generate a controlled noise source. Sound waves from the explosive shot travel through the ice and are reflected from the ice-water interface. Some waves will travel through the water and will then be reflected from the water-bed interface. The echoes which return to the surface are recorded by a series of highly sensitive microphones which are attached to a computer. This allows images of water depth and extent to be produced.

Dr Woodward said: “West Antarctic is potentially highly unstable and may have a major impact on sea level change over the next 200 years. The response of West Antarctica to climate change is the current unknown but there is the potential for catastrophic change. This project is about investigating the controls on this change.’’

Dr Woodward will join two American partners – Dr Slawek Tulaczyk from the University of Santa Cruz in California and Dr Ian Joughin from the University of Washington in the mission next year and the year after. They will use satellite imagery and global positioning systems to look at changes on the surface of the ice streams.

Dr Woodward, who has a growing international reputation for his work in glaciology, was invited by the Americans to take part in this project.

Dr Woodward’s element of the project is being funded to the tune of £64,190 by the National Environment Research Council (NERC).

During their stay in West Antarctic the team will endure temperatures of –20° and will live in tents in the field.

Later this year Dr Woodward will be one of a team of scientists on a mission to explore one of the last unchartered corners of the Earth – a subglacial lake buried beneath 3.4km of Antarctic ice. Northumbria is part of consortium of 14 universities, institutions and scientists from Chile, USA, Sweden, Belgium, Germany and New Zealand that aim to be the first to search for life in such an extreme and untouched habitat.

Dr Woodward is 34 and lives in Witton Gilbert in Co. Durham. He is Programme Leader for the BSc in Geography in the School of Applied Sciences at Northumbria University. Prior to this he worked as a researcher for the British Antarctic Survey.

Katrina Alnikizil | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
26.10.2016 | University of California - Irvine

nachricht Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical 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: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

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...

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

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>