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Past Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics (PAIS)

Thwaites Glacier logo webThwaites Glacier is currently losing mass rapidly, with changing ocean conditions leading to retreat, thinning and acceleration of ice flow. The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) is a UK-US project aiming to better understand how the Thwaites Glacier – Amundsen Sea system is changing by drawing together a broad range of expertise to study all aspects of Thwaites Glacier and the surrounding ocean.

From 25th January to 25th March 2020, R.V.I.B. Nathaniel B. Palmer will visit Thwaites Glacier during expedition NBP20-02. This expedition is the main marine component of the Thwaites Glacier Offshore Research (THOR) project, which aims to reconstruct how Thwaites Glacier has responded to environmental changes in the past.

This will place satellite-era observations in a decadal to millennial-scale context. NBP20-02 will collect sediment cores from the vicinity of Thwaites Glacier to investigate changes to ocean conditions and Thwaites Glacier since the early Holocene. The expedition will also map the seafloor using multi-beam swath bathymetry and conduct seismic surveys to better understand conditions at the bed of Thwaites Glacier when it extended over the continental shelf. The cores recovered during the cruise will complement sediments collected for THOR from beneath the ice shelf using a hot water drilling system. Both the sub-ice shelf drilling and expedition NBP20-02 will be undertaken in close collaboration with other ITGC projects.

More information about the ITGC and the THOR project can be found on our respective websites:

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