2016-2017 Science Planning Summaries
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2016-2017 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Oceanic response to a coastal polynya, Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica

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Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Peter Milne

ASC POC/Implementer:
Matthew Erickson / Adam Jenkins

Principal Investigator

Dr. Christopher Zappa

Columbia University
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Palisades, New York


Supporting Stations: Special Project, McMurdo Station, RV/IB Nathaniel B. Palmer
Research Locations: Terra Nova Bay


Researchers seek to simultaneously identify the mechanisms responsible for water-mass modification within the Terra Nova Bay polynya and document all aspects of dense shelf-water formation within an Antarctic polynya system. This study will characterize the water masses within Terra Nova Bay over the course of two annual cycles using in-situ near-surface oceanic observations. With the use of enhanced automatic weather stations (AWS) and satellite imagery, the research team will quantify the surface energy budget components over the polynya and adjacent sea ice; describe the forcing for, and near surface properties of, the katabatic wind field responsible for polynya formation; and document the oceanic response to these flows at high vertical and temporal resolution. The proposed measurements will build upon the successful deep-ocean moorings deployed by the Italian CLIMA program in Terra Nova Bay since 1995. Data collected will provide the first near-surface oceanic observations of an Antarctic polynya and will provide an unprecedented view of the coupled atmospheric and oceanic processes acting at the polynya.

Field Season Overview

Two team members will sail on the South Korean Research Vessel, Araon from Christchurch, New Zealand to the South Korean antarctic station, Jang Bogo. While underway, they will recover and re-deploy a mooring previously deployed by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO). They will disembark at Jang Bogo and will then fly by USAP helicopter to McMurdo Station where they will catch a flight north to Christchurch. One team member will remain in Christchurch to await their cargo coming north on the RV Araon and facilitate its transport back to the US.

Deploying Team Members

  • Scott Brown
  • Christopher Zappa (PI)