2023-2024 Science Planning Summary
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2023-2024 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

RAPID: International collaborative airborne sensor deployments near Antarctic ice shelves

International collaborative airborne survey team with Australia's BT-67 Basler. Photo by Lenneke Jong, Australian Antarctic Division
I-122-E Research Location(s): East and West Antarctica/Denman, Totten & Thwaites Glaciers


Event Number:

Program Director:
Dr. Kelly Brunt

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Jane Dell

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Jamin S Greenbaum
University of California San Diego
Scripps Institution of Oceanography


Supporting Stations: Special Project
Research Locations: East and West Antarctica/Denman, Totten & Thwaites Glaciers


This project acquires snapshot profiles of ocean temperature, salinity, velocity, and bathymetric knowledge where there are no prior data near three glaciers draining substantial sea level potential from the East and West Antarctic Ice Sheets. In West Antarctica, the 2022-23 season, helicopters operated from the RV Araon icebreaker were used to deploy airborne expendable conductivity, temperature, and depth (AXCTD) and airborne expendable current profiler (AXCP) sensors into perennial rifts in an area of the Thwaites Glacier Tongue experiencing high basal melt rates. In East Antarctica, near the Shackleton and Cook ice shelves, a fixed-wing aircraft is to be used to deploy grids of AXCTD, AXCP, and airborne expendable Bathy-Thermograph (AXBT) sensors, and to acquire new airborne gravity data useful for inferring seafloor bathymetry. High-resolution, MIT general circulation model (MITgcm) simulations are used to optimize sensor targeting and improve the interpretation of results.

Field Season Overview

This season attempts to conduct work at East Antarctic targets near Denman and Totten Glaciers (and the unnamed glacier feeding the Cook Ice Shelf) that was delayed from the 2022-23 season due to schedule delays related to COVID-19. The Denman, Totten, and Cook areas will be accessed using a fixed wing Basler BT-67 aircraft operated by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). USAP will provide cargo movement with the remainder of field support to be provided by AAD.

Deploying Team Members

  • Jamin Greenbaum (PI)