Oceanic Heat Transport to Floating Glaciers in Antarctica


Report from the ESF-funded workshop

Contact: Anna Wåhlin 


The meeting was held at CNR ISMAR Institute in Lerici (Italy) from 12 to 15 May 2014. The key outcome of the workshop was that although the national programs are active and conduct science of highest quality, the current activities are only a fraction of the enormous potential available should the European marine Antarctic Research be coordinated. A large portion of the cost for the science is presently spent on logistic support and infrastructure. The scientific outcome will likely be much enhanced if existing logistic support and infrastructure is used in an efficient way to support new European science initiatives.

The workshop agreed on the following three recommendations

  1. Europe should contribute to the world ocean observing network. We propose to form a European consortium for Marine Antarctic research. We stress the need of a full COST action programme.
  2. Europe should build a European facility that coordinates large Antarctic infrastructure. We need to pool European ice capable vessel resources. A ship-time pooling programme should be long term and not project based.
  3. Europe should facilitate the career for young scientists in marine Antarctic Science. This could be done by making ship time and other infrastructure available to young scientists and organising the European marine Antarctic research in a consortium that encourages active involvement of young scientists.
Proposed observing system for Getz Ice Shelf (Cross-section), Amundsen Sea

The workshop was very successful and contributed to focus new research topics and initiate a new consortium of marine scientists working on Antarctica. A description of new findings in glacier-ocean interaction processes as well as a review of available historical data were provided. This allowed a joint critical discussion about unsolved detailed questions in Antarctic research. All participants are now well aware of key scientific questions and agreed to converge and collaborate at addressing these critical research objectives. A review paper is in preparation summarising the results. In particular all agreed that glacier ocean interaction processes are critical in global change scenarios but still need exploration. At present we have the technology and the expertise to do it at local scale, but not at pan-Antarctic scale yet. Deeper coordination among EC Antarctic scientist will amplify European scientific potential.

For more information, download the full Meeting Report.

The workshop was funded by the European Science Foundations Exploratory Workshop Scheme

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