Melting at Thwaites grounding zone and its control on sea level (MELT)

MELT is an ice-based project to understand how warm waters are affecting the Thwaites Glacier at the grounding line – the point where the glacier goes afloat to become ice shelf. This will allow the glacier’s potential sea-level contribution to be more accurately predicted.

Principal Investigators


Team Members

Blog Posts

MELT Team at WAIS Divide with Icefin robotic underwater vehicle

Scientists from the MELT project are in Antarctica this field season. The team aims to use autonomous sensors, vehicles (including Icefin), radar, and moorings to monitor the Thwaites ice shelf and grounding line. The team keeps a blog about the Icefin autonomous underwater vehicle: a small, long-range, deep-water, under-ice, robotic oceanographer. 

Instrument Highlight: Phase-sensitive radar (ApRES), Filchner Ice Shelf

Research teams use phase-sensitive radars for determining ice shelf basal melt rates.  Data is used to enhance climate models.

Related News

Satellite data provides first evidence of ocean water intrusion between the remote Thwaites Glacier.
Scientists Dr Peter Davis (British Antarctic Survey) and Dr Britney Schmidt (Cornell University) have been named in the 2023 TIME100 annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine. They were recognized for their contributions to climate science, following the publication of results from an unprecedented expedition to measure melting under the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica.
The rapid retreat of Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica appears to be driven by different processes under its floating ice shelf than researchers previously understood. Novel observations from where the ice enters the ocean show that while melting beneath much of the ice shelf is weaker than expected, melting in cracks and crevasses is much faster. Despite the suppressed melting the glacier is still retreating, and these findings provide an… more
How the mighty Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica could contribute to global sea-level rise will form part of the final episode of the BBC Natural History Unit’s blockbuster series Frozen Planet II.