Follow the expedition day-by-day: start Feb 8

The retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet since the Last glacial Maximum
The mechanisms that led to the retreat of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) since the Last Glacial Maximum is the main focus for the Southern Ocean 2010 expedition with Swedish icebreaker Oden. These potential mechanisms include sea level rise, thinning due to rapid ice stream discharge, subglacial meltwater flows, and basal ice sheet melting by warm deep ocean water. The WAIS is considered to be particularly unstable and the mechanisms causing marine ice sheet collapse are critical to understand for predictions of the near future behavior of this ice sheet. The marine geological and geophysical project of Southern Ocean 2010 is collaboration between Stockholm University, Rice University and Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge.

Planned field work
Sediment cores will be acquired from the Western Antarctic continental shelf and analyzed to obtain constraints on the timing of ice sheet retreat from the continental shelf using radiocarbon ages of the oldest glacial marine deposits overlying till. The multibeam and subbottom profiler on the icebreaker Oden will be used to map geomorphic features, such as grounding line wedges, indicating pauses in the retreat of the ice sheet from the continental shelf, and the depths of iceberg furrows allowing the estimation of the depth of the grounding line when massive calving events associated with ice sheet break-up occurred. The research is planned to mainly focus on Pine Island Bay and, in addition, to areas off Sulzberger Bay and Marguerite Bay.

Map showing the planned route for the Southern Ocean 2010 expedition. The white boxes denote the study areas. The main focus, however, is on the Pine Island Bay. Blue and purple boxes show areas planned for detailed surveys.

Department of Geological Sciences
Svante Arrhenius väg 8, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46 (0)8 16 20 00 | Web administrator ines.jakobsson[at]geo.su.se
In case of emergency call (08) 16 22 16 or (08) 16 42 00