2017-2018 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2017-2018 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Polynyas, Ice Production and seasonal Evolution in the Ross Sea (PIPERS)

Polynyas, Ice Production and seasonal Evolution in the Ross Sea (PIPERS)


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Jennifer Burns

ASC POC/Implementer:
Matthew Erickson / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator

Dr. Stephen F Ackley

University of Texas
San Antonio, Texas


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: McMurdo Station


In-situ observations of air-sea-ice interactions are paramount for improving estimates of sea-ice production and water-mass transformation in the Ross Sea. Precise measurements of the atmospheric and oceanic heat balance at the surface are needed, concurrent with observations of the atmospheric boundary layer and the effect of katabatic wind surges on low-level warming and ice growth. Measurements of ocean property changes affecting sensible heat loss and water-mass transformation are required concurrent with observations of ice growth and ice thickness evolution. The team's principal objective is to fully capture the space/time evolution of air-ice-ocean interactions initiated during the austral autumn and tracked into winter-spring in the Ross Sea.

Field Season Overview

A team of three (including a PolarTREC teacher) will deploy in November. They will use an LC-130 aircraft, equiped with IcePod instrumentation (remote sensing devices, airborne LiDAR, digital cameras, an IR imager, and shallow ice radar), to determine the ice thickness crossing the boundary between the continental shelf and the deep ocean, demarcated by the 1000m bathymetric contour. The flights will make two surveys over deployed ice mass balance buoy arrays, and one pass along the 1000 meter bathymetric contour at the shelf-slope break in the western Ross Sea. The team will collaborate with Antarctic New Zealand (ANZ) to conduct ground truthing and to collect ice cores on fast ice under the flight survey areas.

Deploying Team Members

  • Jeffery Anderson
  • Stephen Ackley (PI)
  • Jennifer Bault
  • Gauthier Carnat
  • John Cassano (Co-PI)
  • Johannes de Jong
  • Bruno Delille
  • Yongli Gao
  • Samuel Gartzman
  • Peter Guest (Co-PI)
  • Brice Loose
  • Edward Maksym (Co-PI)
  • Ming-Yi Jeffrey Mei
  • Sarah Park
  • Julie Parno
  • Alek Razdan
  • Laetitia Roach
  • CĂ©lia Sapart
  • Kelly Schick
  • Sarah Searson
  • Madison Smith
  • Sharon Stammerjohn (Co-PI)
  • Jean-Louis Tison
  • Fanny Van der Linden
  • Blake Weissling (Co-PI)
  • Guy Williams
  • Hongjie Xie (Co-PI)