International Collaborator visits ITTC

Lawrence,Kansas (03-27-2003)

From ITTC News
By Michelle Ward

ITTC researchers are working with an international collaborator on the Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements (PRISM) and other projects. Victoria Lytle from the University of Tasmania is helping KU investigators develop sea ice radar to measure sea ice and snow thickness. Lytle is also helping ITTC researchers with radar to determine bedrock conditions below the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

Lytle, who studies the role of sea ice in global climate change, has spent the week at ITTC. She and fellow researchers at the Cooperative Research Centre for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (Antarctic CRC) are advising ITTC researchers in geophysics. They are providing needed information on the physical processes and phenomena of the Earth, which include snow and sea ice physical properties such as grain size, density and crystal structure. CRC researchers will also interpret data recorded by PRISM radar.

Scientists believe that decreased sea ice associated with global warming will significantly affect ocean circulation. But there is not enough information to confirm these theories. PRISM researchers are creating radar that will give scientists crucial information on the thickness of sea ice.

These new radars will allow us to measure snow and sea ice thickness on a regional scale, providing critical data that is not presently available, Lytle said.

On Wednesday, Lytle gave a talk on her work with sea ice to ITTC researchers. The presentation highlighted the importance of sea ice formation for global ocean circulation. This circulation is needed to moderate climates, sending cooler water to tropical areas and warmer water to the polar regions. It also transports nutrients to different regions in the world, providing sustenance for populations of fish and other sea organisms.

For more information, contact ITTC.

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