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Collaborative Research: IPY: POLENET-Antarctica: Investigating Links Between Geodynamics and Ice Sheets - NSF-ANT06-32322

This project constructs POLENET a network of GPS and seismic stations in West Antarctica to understand how the mass of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) changes with time. The information is ultimately used to predict sea level rise accompanying global warming and interpret climate change records. The GPS (global positioning system) stations measure vertical and horizontal movements of bedrock, while the seismic stations characterize physical properties of the ice/rock interface, lithosphere, and mantle. Combined with satellite data, this project offers a more complete picture of the ice sheet's current state, its likely change in the near future, and its overall size during the last glacial maximum. This data will also be used to infer sub-ice sheet geology and the terrestrial heat flux, critical inputs to models of glacier movement. As well, this project improves tomographic models of the Earth's deep interior and core through its location in the Earth's poorly instrumented southern hemisphere. Broader impacts of this project are varied. The work is relevant to society for improving our understanding of the impacts of global warming on sea level rise. It also supports education at the postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate levels, and outreach to groups underrepresented in the sciences. As an International Polar Year contribution, this project establishes a legacy of infrastructure for polar measurements. It also involves an international collaboration of twenty four countries. For more information see IPY Project #185 at NSF is supporting a complementary Arctic POLENET array being constructed in Greenland under NSF Award #0632320.

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