Researchers Track Byrd Glacier for Accurate Sea Level Predictions
09.12.2010 - Water & Oceans, Ice & Snow, Antarctic
In an attempt to contribute to more accurately predicting future sea level rise, a team of researchers from the University of Kansas are studying Byrd Glacier's flow in Antarctica. In November, the team travelled to East Antarctica, where it will start a three-year study of Byrd Glacier, a river of ice which flows into the Ross Sea. Down in East Antarctica, the team will rely on field observations, GPS units and satellites to follow the movement of the ice to make better predictions on its future movements.
Thus far, much research has been conducted on the very active glaciers of Greenland and West Antarctica, and many among these have seen a substantial increase in their ice flow. However, says the UK team, for researchers to gain better insight into the movements of the ice, they should focus on more stable glaciers. By doing so, researchers would learn more about the reasons behind glacier movement, and ultimately be able to contribute to providing more accurate sea level rise predictions.
To study Byrd Glacier, the team deployed a total of 30 GPS-units over the surface of the glacier, with each unit precisely signalling its position every 15 seconds. The researchers will be able to analyze the glacier flow and monitor any change in its flow rate.