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Past Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics (PAIS)

1 paisThe Ross Sea West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) History Expedition (based on IODP Proposals 751 Full2, 751 Add, 751 Add2, & 751 Add3) will investigate the relationship between climatic/oceanic change and WAIS evolution through the Neogene and Quaternary. Numerical models indicate that this region is highly sensitive to changes in ocean heat flux and sea level, making it a key target to understand past ice sheet variability under a range of climatic forcings.

The proposed drilling is designed to optimize data-model integration for improved understanding of Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance during climates warmer than present. Core and log data from a transect of six sites from the outer continental shelf to rise in the eastern Ross Sea will be used to:

(1) evaluate WAIS contribution to far-field ice volume and sea level estimates;

(2) reconstruct ice proximal atmospheric and oceanic temperatures to identify periods of past polar amplification and assess forcings/feedbacks;

(3) assess the role of oceanic forcing (e.g., sea level, temperature) on WAIS instability;

(4) document WAIS sensitivity to Earth’s orbital configuration under varying climate boundary conditions; and

(5) reconstruct eastern Ross Sea bathymetry to examine relationships among seafloor geometry, ice sheet instability, and global climate.

The Drilling Expedition is scheduled to take palce from January 4th to March 8th 2018, follow the Expedition at:


and find more info about IODP Joides expeditions at: