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Extreme Geophysics Group(EGG)
Investigating Cryospheric Evolution of the
Victoria Land, Antarctica

Recently published literatures [Joughin et al., 2014; Rignot et al., 2014] reported that the melting of the ice sheet in West Antarctica is unstoppable and could raise global sea levels by as much as 4 feet (1.2 m) in the next century, which is a higher estimate than 1 to 3 feet (0.3-0.9 m) laid out in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Such a striking event has already predicted

by John Mercer [1978] who first presented the idea that climate change could cause the collapse of large parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet. The rise in sea levels is linked to the following three primary factors: 1. Thermal expansion, 2. Melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, 3. Ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica. Although various sophisticated climate models have tried to precisely predict global mean sea level rise, uncertainties related to the rapid changes in the Cryosphere that becomes critical in numerical modeling still remain not fully resolved. To increase the resolution of numerical modeling, high quality data acquisition through long-term observation should be necessary.
David Glacier that locates about 100 km away from the Jang Bogo Korean Antarctic Research Station to the South is the most imposing outlet glacier in Victoria Land, Antarctica, has been moving with an estimated speed of up to 700 m/year. As the David Glacier flows into the Ross Sea, it forms a floating mass known as the Drygalski Ice Tongue which vividly interacts with the Ross Sea nearby. Several subglacial lakes that influence to a large extent the flow of ice sheets have been identified by the satellite remote sensing (ICESat) in the upstream of the David Glacier.
Such a unique ice dynamic system and complex tectonic structures near the Mt. Melbourne would be a huge outdoor laboratory to investigate the Cryospheric evolution in Antarctica.

The Extreme Geophysics Group (EGG) at Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) has been investigating various research subjects including seismology, hydroacoustics, physical oceanography, ice dynamics modeling, glaciology, satellite geodesy, ground-based geophysical surveys, etc. by collecting high quality ground truth data through amphibious cryosphere observation network (EGGNet). We expect that these comprehensive observational systems will provide a clue to understand the interaction between multispheres in Antarctica.

 References

  • Joughin, I., B. E. Smith, and B. Medley (2014), Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Under Way for the Thwaites Glacier Basin,
    West Antarctica, Science, 344(6185), 735-738, doi:10.1126/science.1249055.
  • Mercer, J. H. (1978), West Antarctic ice sheet and CO 2 greenhouse effect - A threat of disaster, Nature.
  • Rignot, E., J. Mouginot, M. Morlighem, H. Seroussi, and B. Scheuchl (2014), Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of
    Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith, and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica, from 1992 to 2011, Geophys. Res. Lett.,
    41(10), 3502-3509, doi:10.1002/2014GL060140.