The following images are from fieldwork expeditions undertaken by Centre researchers.
New Zealand Glaciers
Andrew Mackintosh and Brian Anderson are leading a project to create a computer model of the glacial history of the Southern Alps of New Zealand for the last ice age cycle. This requires detailed research of several representative glaciers, including measurements of snow accumulation, ablation and flow rates, and relating this to data from climate stations on or near the glaciers.
The image galleries below relate to their work.
Brewster Glacier Gallery
The Brewster Glacier, near Haast Pass, is relatively small and accessible. It has been intensively studied for the last few years by collaboration between researchers from Victoria, Canterbury, Otago and other universities.
Fieldwork has included radar surveys to calculate the glacier bed topography, snow pits to measure annual accumulation, and the placement of plastic stakes in a grid pattern on the surface to measure ablation and flow rates. Weather stations have also been set up and the movement of water in the glacier has been studied using dye tracing techniques.
Franz Josef Glacier Gallery
The Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are famous as tourist attractions due to their accessibility and their spectacular surroundings. They are also uniquely sensitive and dynamic climate indicators and are therefore of particular scientific interest.
Brian Anderson has been studying the Franz Josef for several years and using the data for modelling the relationship between the glacier length and changes in the climate.
Tasman Glacier Gallery
At 29 km long, the Tasman Glacier is the largest glacier in New Zealand. The lower half is almost completely covered by a layer of rock debris about one metre thick. Numerous side glaciers feed into the main trunk, including the Hochstetter Icefall descending from the slopes of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman to the West. There is a lake at the terminus which has been expanding increasingly in recent years.
Heather Purdie is undertaking a mass balance study of the Tasman Glacier. This includes measuring the snow accumulation by relocating radar reflectors after they have been buried beneath the winter’s snow.
Antarctic Ice Cores Gallery
Nancy Bertler obtains ice cores from Antarctica as part of a long term study to understand the climate of the Ross Sea region. This involves drilling ice cores along a North – South transect from coastal glaciers beside the Transantarctic Mountains.
In 2006/7 she drilled a core from high on the slopes of the world’s southernmost active volcano - Mount Erebus on Ross Island.
Her work also requires radar surveys, setting up weather stations and snow sampling. The ice cores are analysed in collaboration with GNS Science in the ice core research laboratory in Lower Hutt.
Antarctica Dry Valleys Ground Ice Gallery
Warren Dickinson is leading research to understand the formation of different types of ground ice and permafrost that is found in the Dry Valleys region of the Transantarctic Mountains. Some of it is thought to have originated as buried glacier ice that may be several million years old. His work also relates to research into the ground ice on Mars.
The ANDRILL geological drilling programme is a large multinational collaboration between the US, New Zealand, Italy and Germany. The project involved recovering sediment cores from underneath the Ross Ice Shelf to further understand the geological and climate history of Antarctica.
Many ARC researchers and staff are involved including Tim Naish, Alex Pyne, Tamsin Falconer, Lionel Carter, Gavin Dunbar, Rob McKay, Mike Hannah and Cliff Atkins. We can only include a small selection of photos in our gallery here. For comprehensive information and ongoing updates go to www.ANDRILL.org, and see Project Iceberg for more photos, blogs, videos and other educational resources.