SCAR is pleased to share the Visiting Scholar report by Dr Ted Scambos, Senior Research Scientist at the Earth Science Observation Center / CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, US. His Visiting Scholarship was hosted by the Instituto Antártico Argentino (IAA), Argentina, supported by Sebastián Marinsek. Dr Scambos also visited the Servicio Hidrografia Naval (SHN).
The primary objective of Dr Scambos' visit was to prepare for potential field work in the Larsen B embayment region, focusing on analysing calving styles, monitoring elevation and ice flow velocity changes, and assessing present-day ocean properties adjacent to the glaciers. In light of the recent extreme low summer sea ice extent in the Southern Ocean, there was an added impetus to investigate the causes and potential consequences of reduced ice cover, particularly concerning increased glacier mass loss. The visit aimed to establish collaborative research plans, provide support to students, and introduce field work techniques and instruments to the research groups at the IAA and SHN.
During his visit, Dr Scambos engaged in several fruitful activities. Two lectures were conducted, summarising the current research topics related to the Larsen B region and Antarctic sea ice, with contributions from Dr Scambos, his students, and the global scientific community. The lectures, held at IAA and SHN, attracted a diverse audience of researchers, students, and professionals, further fostering knowledge exchange and collaborative efforts.
Notably, Dr Scambos also dedicated significant attention to supporting the students involved in the research projects. Meetings with Sebastián Marinsek, Capitán Alvaro Scardilli, and Dr. Sandra Barreira allowed for discussions on research goals, logistical plans, and potential areas of collaboration. Dr Scambos reviewed and edited draft manuscripts by two students, facilitating their progress towards publication. The visit served as an invaluable opportunity for mentorship and knowledge transfer to the next generation of polar scientists.
Furthermore, Dr Scambos explored possibilities for collaboration with the SCAR Southern Ocean Research Program committee. Engaging with Cpt. Alvaro Scardilli, they discussed potential projects involving data collection from the ARA Irizar icebreaker and other sources, emphasizing the importance of routine ocean profiling to enhance our understanding of Weddell Sea oceanography. This collaboration could provide essential data for student research and contribute to ongoing scientific efforts in the Southern Ocean.
Throughout the visit, Dr Scambos also dedicated time to outreach activities, promoting polar science and inspiring the wider public. The well-attended research summary talks delivered by Dr Scambos captured the attention of active researchers and students alike. These talks not only disseminated the latest research findings but also highlighted the collaborative nature of scientific exploration in Antarctica.
About his visit and life in Argentina Dr Scambos notes:
I was struck by how upbeat and positive the people of Argentina are, despite the struggling economy. And really, there was not much evidence of a problem – the streets were bustling, the shops were busy, and most things were working just fine.
Looking ahead, the outcomes of Dr Scambos' visit lay the foundation for future endeavors in the Antarctic Peninsula. The planned field work at Crane Glacier and possible overflights of Hektoria Glacier, scheduled for late January 2024, will be a major focus for Dr Scambos and the IAA research group. The field work will involve comprehensive preparations, including drone training, GPS and camera testing, and culminate in a day-trip flight to the glacier overlook site for instrument deployment. The anticipated results will contribute to a peer-reviewed publication, expanding our knowledge of the region's glacial dynamics.
The full report is available through the SCAR Library and on the SCAR Visiting Scholars webpage together with the full list of previous SCAR Visiting Scholars and available reports. Click here to read the report: pdf Ted Scambos - 2022 Visiting Scholar Report (611 KB)
The SCAR Visiting Scholar Scheme is designed to build capacity in countries with smaller or less-developed Antarctic research programmes. The scheme was inaugurated in 2013 and is directed at researchers, more than five years after their PhDs, whose work contributes to the research objectives of SCAR, offering an opportunity to undertake a short-term visit to another SCAR member country. Applications are currently open for the 2023 SCAR Visiting Scholar Scheme and will close 30 August 2023.