Collaborative Research: Grounding-line retreat in the Southern Ross Sea – Constraints from Scott Glacier

Collaborative Research: Grounding-line retreat in the southern Ross Sea – constraints from Scott Glacier

Brenda Hall, Gordon Bromley, Nate Nietkiewicz

December 2007 – January 2008; December 2008 – January  2009

We are investigating late Pleistocene and Holocene changes in Scott Glacier, a key outlet glacier that flows directly into the Ross Sea just west of the present-day West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) grounding line. The overarching goals of this project are to understand changes in WAIS configuration in the Ross Sea sector at and since the last glacial maximum (LGM) and to determine whether Holocene retreat observed in the Ross Embayment has ended or if it is ongoing. To address these goals, we have been mapping and dating moraine and drift sequences associated with Scott Glacier. Specifically, we are establishing the surface-elevation history of the glacier since the LGM and using that history to interpret changes in the thickness and configuration of the grounded ice sheet in the Ross Sea which, in turn, allow us to address WAIS behavior and the contribution of Antarctica to global sea level and climate changes.