Thursday, November 1, 2012

Preparing the upcoming expedition

Cargo train at ULB ready for departure
The first expedition of IceCon to Antarctica is planned to leave Brussels on 18 November 2012 (until Christmas this year). We will fly to Cape Town from where we take the DROMLAN flight to Novo and further down to Princess Elisabeth Station (PES). The team members are Nicolas Bergeot (ROB), Bryn Hubbard (Aberystwith University), Kenny Matsuoka (NPI), Frank Pattyn (ULB), Morgane Philippe (ULB), and Jean-Louis Tison (ULB). We will be joined by Reinhard Drews (ULB and 2012 recipient of the InBev-Baillet-Latour fellowship) and Denis Callens (ULB) from the Be:Wise project.

Our expedition relies quite heavily on logistics. We will install two geodetic GPS systems that have to run all-year long, which puts serious constraints on power. We therefore rely on batteries charged up using both solar panels and wind turbines. One of the geodetic GPS systems will be set up on Seal, a small nunatak in the vicinity of Romnoesfjellet, but quite easy for access. The former Japanese Asuka is just next to it. The purpose of the GPS systems is to monitor over a 4 year period vertical changes of the lithosphere in response to the unloading of the ice due to post-glacial rebound. This way, we would have an idea on what volume of ice was present in the this sector of Dronnng Maud Land (Antarctica) during the Last Glacial Maximum. This information is essential to constrain models of Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA), which form the basis of the interpretation of the GRACE satellite signal (see Project page for more information).

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