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RAPID: Observing the Disintegration of the Scar Inlet Ice Shelf
Entry ID: USAP-1565576

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This award supports a Rapid Response Research (RAPID) project to observe the current weakened state of the Scar Inlet Ice Shelf, and potentially capture data during its anticipated disintegration. The Scar Inlet Ice Shelf (SIIS) is the southern remnant of the former Larsen B Ice Shelf, which disintegrated in March of 2002. Since then, the SIIS has weakened significantly but has not yet broken ...

Extreme changes in the stress conditions on the SIIS resulted from both the loss of the Larsen B ice plate and the continued inflow of ice from three large glaciers (Flask, Leppard, and Starbuck). The SIIS now has a number of large rifts and it is expected to break up or disintegrate in the very near future. Past research has made use of satellite data and weather instruments, establishing many of the current ideas regarding ice shelf break-ups and ice shelf weakening. Additional ground-based data to be collected under this study will test a number of hypotheses regarding pre-disintegration characteristics, triggering mechanisms, fracturing processes, runaway feedback effects, and stabilizing mechanisms. The project will collect extensive multi-instrument field observations of the SIIS and possibly capture a major disintegration event. In collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey, a team of 4 people will be deployed via Twin Otter for up to 4 weeks to a site with a broad view of the shelf and will install several temporary observing instruments there. The study derives its intellectual merit from the role of the Antarctic Peninsula as a microcosm of how other parts of Antarctica might evolve and de-glaciate in the next few centuries. The broader impacts include an opportunity to educate the public about the anticipated collapse of this remnant ice shelf and its relationship to future changes in Antarctica. The potential for wide media coverage (through a connection with the National Geographic) will underscore the critical changes scientists are observing in the crysophere driven by climate change. This proposal requires field work in Antarctica.

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Description: NSF Award Abstract.
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Data Set Citation
Version: Not provided
Temporal Coverage
Start Date: 2015-12-01T00:00:00.000Z
Stop Date: 2017-11-30T23:59:59.999Z
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Data Set Progress
Data Center
United States Antarctic Program Data Center
Data Center URL: http://www.usap-dc.org/

Data Center Personnel
Name: Data Manager
Email: info at usap-dc.org
Contact Address:
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
61 Route 9W
City: Palisades
Province or State: NY
Postal Code: 10964
Country: USA
Erin Pettit
Email: ecpettit at alaska.edu
Contact Address:
University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus
Extended Metadata Properties
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Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2017-12-21
Last DIF Revision Date: 2018-02-21