Have you ever wondered why geothermal heat flow is important for the Antarctic Ice Sheet? How do we even measure it when there's all that ice in the way?
This pdf SCAR-SERCE White Paper on Antarctic geothermal heat flow research (4.15 MB) (GHF) has brought together the multidisciplinary and international community to detail current methods, discuss their challenges and limitations, and recommend key future directions. GHF affects the ice sheet temperature, determining how it slides and internally deforms, as well as the rheological behaviour of the lithosphere. However, GHF remains poorly constrained, with few borehole-derived estimates, and there are large discrepancies in currently available glaciological and geophysical estimates. We highlight the timely need for a more multidisciplinary and internationally-coordinated approach to tackle this complex problem.
Alex Burton-Johnson, geologist at the British Antarctic Survey and lead author of the new SCAR-SERCE White Paper, has also recorded a video explaining what geothermal heat flow is, how it's being measured and why continued research on the topic is important for Antarctica: