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Collaborative Research: Deglaciation of the Ross Sea Embayment - Constraints from Roosevelt Island - award #0943466

This award supports a project to use the Roosevelt Island ice core as a glaciological dipstick for the eastern Ross Sea. Recent attention has focused on the eastern Ross Embayment, where there are no geological constraints on ice thickness changes, due to the lack of protruding rock "dipsticks" where the ice sheet can leave datable records of high stands. Recent work has shown how dated ice cores can be used as dipsticks to derive ice-thickness histories. Partners from New Zealand and Denmark will extract an ice core from Roosevelt Island during the 2010-2011 and 2011-12 austral summers. Their science objective is to contribute to understanding of climate variability over the past 40kyr. The science goal of this project is not the climate record, but rather the history of deglaciation in the Ross Sea. The new history from the eastern Ross Sea will be combined with the glacial histories from the central Ross Sea (Siple Dome and Byrd) and existing and emerging histories from geologic and marine records along the western Ross Sea margin and will allow investigators to establish an updated, self-consistent model of the configuration and thickness of ice in the Ross Embayment during the LGM, and the timing of deglaciation. Results from this work will provide ground truth for new-generation ice-sheet models that incorporate ice streams and fast-flow dynamics. Realistic ice-sheet models are needed not only for predicting the response to future possible environments, but also for investigating past behaviors of ice sheets. This research contributes to the primary goals of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative as well as the IPY focus on ice-sheet history and dynamics. It also contributes to understanding spatial and temporal patterns of climate change and climate dynamics over the past 40kyr, one of the primary goals of the International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS). The project will help to develop the next generation of scientists and will contribute to the education and training of two Ph.D. students. All participants will benefit from the international collaboration, which will expose them to different field and laboratory techniques and benefit future collaborative work. All participants are involved in scientific outreach and undergraduate education, and are committed to fostering diversity. Outreach will be accomplished through regularly scheduled community and K-12 outreach events, talks and popular writing by the PIs, as well as through University press offices.

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