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

Project Title

Collaborative Research: Sensitivity of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to 2 Celsius (SWAIS 2C)

Iceberg juts into Ross Sea. Photo by Robyn Waserman, courtesy of NSF/USAP Photo Library
G-070-M Research Location(s): Ross Ice Shelf


Event Number:
NSF / OPP Award 2035035

Program Director:
Dr. Michael Jackson

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Jenny Cunningham

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Molly O'Rourke Patterson

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Ross Ice Shelf


Sea level rise is one of the clearest planet-wide signals of human-induced climate change. Given the far-reaching and international consequences of Antarctica’s future contribution to global sea level rise, the SWAIS 2C Project was developed through international collaboration to better forecast the size and timing of future changes. SWAIS 2C Project scientists will collect and study geological (rocks), glaciological (ice), and geophysical (Earth physical properties) data and provide new information to guide the development of climate and ice sheet numerical models to better understand and predict how the ice sheet on West Antarctica will contribute to future sea level rise. The project’s drilling campaign aims to recover ~200 m-long sediment cores from two locations beneath the eastern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, designated as the Kamb Ice Stream (KIS-3) and Crary Ice Rise (CIR-1) field sites. This project, performed in collaboration with 10 nations and the Antarctica New Zealand Program (AntNZ) acting as the project operator for coordination and most logistical needs, is supporting a United States (US) scientific team. Key goals of the US participation are to bring a range of scientific expertise to the project and to broaden involvement of early career scientists in Antarctic research.

Field Season Overview

This season, the SWAIS 2C Project drilling campaign aims to recover a 200 m-long sediment drill core from the Kamb Ice Stream (KIS-3) site. Two US scientists will participate during the 2023-24 field season. They will be provided workspace and other accommodation support at McMurdo Station (MCM) prior to and upon returning from the field site. All support at the field site will be provided by the Antarctica New Zealand Program. One of these individuals will work in Crary Lab for two weeks following field work at the Kamb Ice Stream. USAP will also provide fixed-wing support, consisting of up to 13 round-trip Basler missions between MCM and KIS-3.

Deploying Team Members

  • Jason Coenen
  • Alexander Michaud