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Tasmanian Field Studies

Six Students Study GPS Data Evaluation

GIPSY Is Focus of University of Tasmania NSF-funded Course

July 15, 2013 — Six Hamilton Geoscience students participated in a National Science Foundation- and University of Tasmania-supported short course from  June 27 to June 29 in Hobart, Tasmania. The course was focused on teaching the introductory steps in processing continuous global positioning system (GPS) data strings from the U.S. Antarctic LARISSA cGPS network.

This network was installed in the last four years as part of the LARsen Ice Shelf System Antarctica project and was, in part, installed with the assistance of Hamilton students. The program is under the direction of Eugene Domack, the J.W. Johnson Professor of Environmental Studies.

At the University of Tasmania students learned the basics of the GIPSY (an automated, fast, ultra-precise high precision GPS data processing software package) processing routine that runs via LINUX operating system and was developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA. The goal was to allow students to become proficient in the evaluation of GPS data and the inherent biases and to resolve crustal motion (vertical and horizontal) with an accuracy of +/- fractions of mm/year.

The data set is available from seven, soon to be eight, GPS stations established on the Antarctic Peninsula and is useful in evaluating how the earth's elevation is responding (rebounding) to the loss of glacier mass, as the region warms and ice flow to the ocean accelerates. The data will be the basis of several senior theses over the next two years.

The short course was taught by Matt King, professor of geography and environmental studies at University of Tasmania and one of the world’s experts on processing GPS data from continuous land stations. In attendance were  Nora Boylan, ’15, Professor Matt King, Ted Clemens ’14, Hannah Wagner ’15, Katie Smith ’13, Becca Straw ’14, and Isabelle Weisman ’15. Travel support for the students was also provided, in part, by the J.W. Johnson Family Professorship held by Domack.

Cupola