Solid Earth Response and influence on Cryosphere Evolution (SERCE)

Terms of Reference

SERCE will:

  1. Coordinate key disciplinary studies aimed at advancing understanding of the interactions between the solid earth and the cryosphere and implement expert workshops to bring researchers in these studies together to facilitate interdisciplinary outcomes.

  2. Communicate and coordinate with other international groups investigating solid earth – ice sheet interactions.

  3. Work with SCAR action/expert groups and research programmes to promote interdisciplinary science on ice sheet mass balance and sea level change, and new, interdisciplinary applications of geophysical data.

  4. Use the SCAR-IASC international framework to improve access to polar geodetic and geophysical data, and to provide an international framework for maintaining, and potentially augmenting, the remote autonomous observational infrastructure established by the POLENET consortium.

  5. Increase capacity through provision of technological ‘best practices’, open data access, and research training relevant to SERCE science.


Scientific objectives of the SERCE SRP include to:

  1. Integrate and synthesize geodetic observations obtained from the multinational POLENET geophysical network during IPY to obtain a crustal velocity field (vertical and horizontal) across the Antarctic continent.

  2. Integrate and synthesize seismological data obtained from the POLENET geophysical network together with airborne and in situ geophysical data to map Antarctic lithospheric and upper mantle structure and rheological properties and to model heat flux from the solid earth to the base of the ice sheets.

  3. Combine GPS vertical velocity fields with information on ice sheet histories from geological and glaciological information, to improve understanding of Antarctic ice sheet evolution from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the present – an outcome to be obtained through collaboration with the SCAR/IASC Ice Sheet Mass Balance (ISMASS) expert group.

  4. Foster GIA modeling capabilities to incorporate lateral heterogeneity in earth rheology.

  5. Develop improved models of glacial isostatic adjustment constrained by vertical crustal motion observations (objective 1), improved earth structure (objective 2), improved ice sheet history (objective 3), and next-generation models (objective 4).

  6. Improve the estimates of present-day ice mass balance obtained from satellite observations. Provision of improved constraints on the rates of gravitational change and crustal uplift due to GIA will remove one of the largest uncertainties in analysis of satellite data for present-day change.

  7. Document ice sheet boundary conditions and subglacial processes from geophysical and glacial surface motion observations.

  1. Determine seismicity levels in Antarctica and link to cryospheric and tectonic processes.

  2. Better understand neotectonic processes through analysis of improved earthquake catalogues and horizontal crustal motion observations.

  3. Improve the understanding of ionospheric and tropospheric processes through analysis of new POLENET space-geodetic observations – an objective driven through collaboration with the SCAR GNSS Research and Application for Polar Environment expert group.