East Antarctica is the largest reservoir of ice in Cenozoic Earth, and has played a critical role in climate history. ICECAP (International Collaborative Exploration of the Cryosphere through Airborne Profiling) is a major international project targeting the margins of the massive ice sheet, addressing three major problems: what are the boundary conditions controlling the architecture of the East ... Antarctic Ice Sheet; what is climate record archived within the ice, and what is the sensitivity of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to change. To these ends, a long range multi-instrumented aerogeophysical aircraft has been operated from US, Italian, French and Australian coastal stations, over the Wilkes and Aurora Subglacial Basins and their margins every season since 2008, as part of both the International Polar Year and Operation Ice Bridge. Funding was provided by the UK's NERC, the US's NSF Office of Polar Programs International Polar Year (IPY) program and NASA's Operation Ice Bridge (OIB), and Australia's ACE-CRC, and the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas. Logistics and instrument support was provided by USAP, AAD, IPEV, PNRA, NGA, BAS and UNAVCO/EarthScope.
Primary science results include delineation of a former ice sheet margin in the interior of the Aurora Subglacial Basin, a better definition of the structure of the subglacial hydrology under East Antarctica, and greatly improved our understanding of the geometry many of East Antarctica's outlet glaciers. The data have also been used to validate new ice thickness interpolation methods, and provide a high resolution tie between the Vostok and EPICA ice core sites.
To date, 285,000 line kilometers of data have been gather over the interior (including a collaboration with the Danish-Argentinian-Norwegian ICEGRAV program), including ice penetrating radar, laser altimetry, gravity and magnetics. The primary data products include ice thickness, surface elevation (repeated in many locations), and potential fields data indicating geology and bathymetry.