2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Collaborative Research in IPY: Abrupt Environmental Change in the Larsen Ice Shelf System, a Multi-disciplinary Approach -- Cryosphere and Oceans (LARISSA)

Program Manager:
Dr. Sonia Esperanca


ASC POC/Implementer:
Addie Coyac / Robert Kluckhohn

Dr. Theodore Scambos (Principal Investigator)
http://iceshelf.wordpress.com/External Non U.S. Government Site

University of Colorado Boulder
National Snow & Ice Data Center
Boulder, Colorado

Supporting Stations:  Special Project
Research Locations:  Scar Inlet, Cape Disappointment, Flask Glacier, Leppard Glacier, Cape Framnes

Project Description:
The LARsen Ice Shelf System, Antarctica (LARISSA) project will bring an international, interdisciplinary team together to address a significant regional problem with global change implications, the abrupt environmental change in Antarctica's Larsen Ice Shelf System. The goals of the Cryosphere and Oceans project under the LARISSA multi-disciplinary effort are: 1) the understanding of glacier response after ice shelf loss; 2) ice-ocean interaction in a warming climate system; and 3) long-term climate history from the ice core record in the northern Peninsula region. The study region, the Larsen B Ice Shelf embayment, has seen dramatic changes in the past decade, including the loss of much of the ice shelf in early 2002. Since then, glaciers in the area of shelf-ice loss have accelerated significantly, and lost part of their mass to the ocean. However, a section of the ice shelf remains in the south; and glaciers in this area have shown almost no changes as yet. Researchers on the field camp segment of the LARISSA project will conduct an ice-penetrating radar and GPS survey of a potential deep ice core site on the Antarctic Peninsula in order to measure ice thickness, topography, and accumulation variations across a ~8 km x 8 km site. The data acquired will provide information to the ice core researchers on the best sites to drill for high-quality ice core.

Field Season Overview:
Researchers will travel to several sites in the Western Antarctic Peninsula and will be transported from the research vessel to field-sampling sites by Zodiac inflatable boats.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Terence Haran

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Office of Polar Programs