2021 Arctic

North America: Sediment Transport Mechanisms and Geomorphic Processes Associated with Shore Ice along Cold Climate Coastlines

This project will test the hypothesis that limited or variable shore ice cover, when compared to consistent shore ice cover, results in enhanced storm-induced coastal erosion and damage to coastal infrastructure. Cold climate coastlines are highly vulnerable to reduced winter ice cover in response to climate change. The dynamics of how reduced ice cover influences coastal evolution is poorly understood which inhibits accurate forecasting of future coastal response in cold climates. Researchers on this project hope to improve our understanding of how sediment interacts with shore ice as well as the resulting coastal landscape change. The first part of the project involves laboratory experiments aimed at studying the physics of sediment and ice interactions. The second part of the project will gather field measurements that use the laboratory measurements as a basis to investigate how cold climate coastlines naturally respond to the shore ice. Using a SIPRE Hand Auger, the researchers will collect ice core samples of 1-3 meters in length on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior to inspect debris entrained within the ice for comparison with the laboratory experiments. This research will result in a model that will help explain how reduced and variable winter shore ice cover alters the coastal landscape, which will help coastal managers proactively plan for future climate change impacts.

Greenland: Climate Drivers and Ancient History in Greenland Ice

Using the Foro 400 Drill, this project will drill a 400-450 meter long ice core from the Tunu region of northeast Greenland and analyze the core for a broad range of elements, chemical species, and isotopes to reconstruct climate and human impacts during the past ~4000 years. An ice-penetrating radar survey extending 40-km upstream along the ice-flow line upstream of the ice-core site will support interpretation of the aerosol and water isotope records, as well as understanding of any possible impacts from changes in deposition processes upstream. The goal of this research is to develop accurately dated, high-resolution, ice-core records of a broad range of elements and chemical species to expand and extend recently identified, causal linkages between (1) ancient societies; (2) volcanism and hydroclimate; and (3) wars, plagues, social unrest, and economic activity.

Greenland: Sewer Outfall Bulb for Summit Station, Greenland

For this engineering project at Summit Station, Greenland, the large-diameter Blue Ice Drill will be used to produce a 11.3” diameter hole to 30 m depth. The engineers will use the borehole to create a bulb at depth for a sewer outfall for the station.

Southeast Greenland Surface Mass Balance

Using the Stampfli Drill and a hand auger and Sidewinder, this project will drill shallow firn cores from 2-3 sites in Southeast Greenland. The goal of the project is to investigate decadal variability in accumulation and surface melt intensity and investigate the impact of this variability on Helheim Glacier behavior. The researchers plan to revisit two sites that they last drilled in 2003 as well as an additional lower elevation site as time/resources allow. All drilling will be done during day trips from Kulusuk supported by Twin Otter.

Peru: Investigation of High Andean Snow and Ice Chemistry to Improve Paleoclimatic Reconstruction and Enhance Climate Prediction

This research examines past and modern change in climate over Peru and Bolivia using snow and ice samples to improve predictions for future climate. Instrumental records of climate and environmental variability from the region are sparse, yet ice cores from Central Andean glaciers provide a source of high-resolution records of past climate dynamics and chemistry of the atmosphere extending back centuries to millennia. Climate reconstructions from ice cores can provide added temporal and spatial context to existing multi-proxy climate reconstructions to help assess the impact of natural and human-induced physical and chemical climate change at the storm-scales that impact day to day and season to season events, and in the process, develop analogs for predicting future change. The goal of this research is to combine advances in ice core sampling technology, knowledge of Andean storm event meteorology, cyberinfrastructure, and climate modeling and analysis to fresh snow, snowpits and ice core data from Peru and Bolivia. Using the Thermal Drill, this project will recover approximately 140 meters of snow/firn/ice core from the summit region of Quelccaya during the project’s 2020 field season.

Greenland: Greenland Neutrino Observatory

Ultra-high energy (UHE) neutrino astronomy is a rapidly evolving field that sits at the crossroads of particle physics, astronomy, and astrophysics. Neutrinos travel virtually unimpeded through the Universe, making them unique messenger particles for cosmic sources, carrying information about very distant sources that would otherwise be unavailable. Detection of ultra-high energy neutrinos could also reveal the origin of cosmic rays. During the 2020 Greenland field season, the researchers aim to deploy a series of stations, comprised of radio antennas and electronics, to detect the highest energy neutrinos in the universe. This effort is complementary to the optical technique used by IceCube at the South Pole, and the radio technique used in Greenland will be incorporated as a major component of the next-generation IceCube (IceCube Gen2) at South Pole, to enable expansion of the energy range of IceCube to higher energies. The instrumentation at Summit Station will enable discovery of the highest energy neutrinos, and pave the way for a major radio component to IceCube Gen-2 at the South Pole. Using the Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill, the researchers will auger a quantity of (15) 5.75-inch diameter holes up to 100 m depth in which to deploy the antennas at Summit, Greenland. The holes will be clustered into stations of three, with the stations spaced ~500m-1km apart on a grid.