Norwegian-U.S. Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica
Released on February 16, 2010
A massive, largely unexplored region, the East Antarctic ice sheet looms large in the global climate system, yet relatively little is known about its climate variability or the contribution it makes to sea level changes. The field expedition for this international partnership involves scientific investigations along two overland traverses in East Antarctica: one going from the Norwegian Troll Station to the United States South Pole Station in 2007-2008; and a return traverse by a different route in 2008-2009. This project will investigate climate change in East Antarctica.
One of the most pressing environmental issues of our time is the need to understand the mechanisms of current global climate change and the associated impacts on global economic and political systems. In order to predict the future with confidence, we need a clear understanding of past and present changes in the Polar Regions and the role these changes play in the global climate system.
This data visualization shows the routes and dates of two scientific field expeditions over LandSat Image Mosaic of Antarctica ( LIMA ) data. A light blue curve shows the drive towards the South Pole in 2007-2008 with the locations of the ice core drilling sites labeled. A darker blue line represents the 2008-2009 traverse from Camp Winter to the South Pole and back to the Troll Station. A black tickmark is placed every 100 kilometers on the traverse route to give a sense of scale.
This set of frames shows both traverse routes, and all of the ice core locations. The preview images shows the 2008/2009 traverse ice core location 4, ice core location 5, and ice core location 6. These frames are the same as the above set except the date overlay has been removed. Black tickmarks are placed on the traverse path every 100 kilometers to give a sense of scale.
The 4,900-kilometer roundtrip journey will take place in the high elevations of the continent, generally between altitudes of 3,000 and 4,000 meters above sea level. Troll Station itself is at about 1,270 meters and the South Pole rises to nearly 3,000 meters. The light blue curve represents leg #1 from November 2007 through January 2008. The darker blue curve represents leg #2 from December 2008 through February 2009.
The ice core locations from the 2007/2008 traverse are shown in light blue and the 2008/2009 locations are in darker blue. Ice cores provide a unique archive for studies of past climate conditions. Scientists study a multitude of different parameters in the ice cores, including electrical properties, isotopic composition, chemical composition, physical properties, and firn temperature. Electrical properties allow detection of volcanic ash layers in the ice cores whereas analysis of e.g. oxygen isotopes and chemical profiling provides information of temperature variations and atmospheric conditions. Together, our studies will allow for a detailed picture of snow characteristics and help with the determination of accumulation rates as well as interpretation of radar data.
Please give credit for this item to: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio LIMA Data provided by: Patricia Vornberger (SAIC) LIMA data produced by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and NASA
Science Paper: httP://traverse.npolar.no
Short URL to share this page: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/3669
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 188.8.131.52.0