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New techniques to predict future sea level rise

Magnetometer pod and radar antennae fitted to Twin Otter aircraft.
Magnetometer pod and radar antennae fitted to Twin Otter aircraft.

Presentation summary for the IPY Science Conference 2010 in Oslo by Dr Louise Sime

A new and exciting technique to analyse thousands of radar images of the vast Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets could improve the accuracy of predictions for future sea-level rise.

In recent years international teams of scientists have mounted major field campaigns to capture ‘pictures’ of what lies beneath the surface of polar ice sheets. Airborne Radar Echo Sounding (RES) captures information about the age structure and *flow dynamics of the ice from the surface to bedrock. Analysis and interpretation of hundreds of thousands of kilometres of RES aerial surveys taken over Antarctica has up till now been done manually.

A new automated RES analysis technique has great potential for extracting all the ice layer information contained in pre-existing and future airborne RES datasets more efficiently. This will greatly advance the understanding of the behaviour of polar ice sheets in a warming climate and shed new light on the factors affecting ice flow — especially important as even a modest change in *ice sheet volume will strongly affect future sea level.

Definitions

Session information

Speaker:
Dr. Louise Sime

Contact:
Mobile: +44 (0)7913 110175
Email: lsim@bas.ac.uk

Friday 11 June @ 16:00 – 17:30
Session: T2-3

Ice flow
a region of an ice sheet that moves significantly faster than the surrounding ice
Ice sheet
the huge mass of ice, up to 4km thick that covers bedrock in Antarctica or Greenland. It flows from the centre of the continent towards the coast where it feeds ice shelves