An international team of researchers, led by Hamilton College Professor of Geosciences Eugene Domack, began a month-long expedition to Antarctica on April 11. They probed deeper into the cause of the collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf as well as the Antarctic Peninsula's response to warming.
The researchers spent four weeks onboard the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer collecting water and core samples, using sonar systems to outline glacial flow patterns and mapping and sampling a newly discovered chemotrophic ecosystem.
The Antarctic Peninsula, which juts northward off the western part of the continent, is experiencing greater warming than almost anywhere on Earth. The peninsula warmed by approximately 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 60 years, and in the past three years the ice shelf decreased by 5,200 square miles. "Our work contributes to the understanding of these climatic changes -- where they are occurring first and with greatest magnitude and impact upon the environment," says Domack.
This project is funded through grants from the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs.