Monday, December 21, 2009

View the expedition trailer

A videographer, Dan Brinkhuis, will join us on our expedition. He made the following trailer, which is about one of the objectives of our expedition:


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Follow the annual retreat of the sea ice

In preparation for our cruise to the Wilkes Land margin of Antarctica, we are watching the sea ice closely. Sea ice forms in the Antarctic every austral Winter (March through September) by freezing of the surface of the ocean. The sea ice melts back from October through February (the Antarctic Summer). For our cruise it is important that the sea ice melts back enough so that the ship can reach the continental shelf, which is the area of the ocean adjacent to land, where the water depths are relatively shallow. In the image you can see the the sea ice map for December 11, 2009 with the Wilkes Land margin indicated with an arrow. The movie here shows the retreat of the sea ice over the past 21 days. It is looking quite good: the sea ice has receded from the shelf area there. You can go to the following web site and keep an eye on the sea ice on a daily basis: Just scroll down the page to the Antarctic.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dr. Passchier prepares for another trip to Antarctica

On January 2, 2010, Dr. Passchier will head south again for another trip to Antarctica. This time she will board a ship in Wellington, New Zealand, which will sail to the Wilkes Land margin of Antarctica (WL on the map). The objective of the cruise is to collect another set of drill cores on the Antarctic continental margin to reconstruct Antarctica's climate and ice-sheet history.

Antarctica is an important component of the Earth system. 1) Its white surface of ice and snow reflects sunlight and keeps the Earth cool. 2) The seasonal formation of sea ice produces cold salty waters that sink and flow northward to cool the lower latitudes of our globe. 3) The Antarctic ice sheets store 70 m in sea level equivalents, meaning that the Statue of Liberty would be in water up to her armpits when all that would melt. Although that is unlikely to happen, keeping an eye on what is going on with all the ice is a good idea!

Credits: map from Barker et al. Leg 178 Scientific Results; image from Ken Miller, Rutgers University

Presentation of scientific results at conference in Granada, Spain

Dr. Passchier is presenting the results of the ANDRILL SMS studies on behalf of the sedimentology team at an international science conference in Granada, Spain, September 2009. For more photos and information about the symposium see the symposium website here.