Thwaites-Amundsen Regional Survey and Network Integrating Atmosphere-Ice-Ocean Processes (TARSAN)

TARSAN is a ship-based project studying how atmospheric and oceanic processes are influencing the behavior of the Thwaites and Dotson Ice Shelves – neighboring ice shelves which are behaving differently. This research will help identify how variations in atmospheric or oceanic conditions may influence the behavior and stability of ice shelves in the region.


Principal Investigators

Co-Investigators

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In the field at last! TARSAN collects data at Thwaites Glacier

The TARSAN ice team swung into action quickly after arriving at WAIS Divide camp (Figure 1 above). WAIS Divide, located on the highest part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, was first opened in 2006 in support of a major ice coring effort to gather a record of past Antarctic and global climate data reaching back nearly 70,000 years. Since then, the camp has served as a logistical hub in support of additional work on the borehole, and for other science in the region. WAIS Divide camp is the gateway for the on-ice research on Thwaites Glacier conducted by ITGC scientists across our field seasons.

Related News

On the 100th anniversary of the polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s death, a research mission using a fleet of underwater robots to determine the impact of Thwaites Glacier on global sea-level rise, departs from Punta Arenas, Chile (6 January 2021). A team of 32 international scientists will set sail on the U.S. National Science Foundation icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer bound for the remote glacier in West Antarctica.

Writer Douglas Fox accompanied ITGC researchers into the field in 2019/2020, where he witnessed TARSAN scientists Erin Pettit, Ted Scambos, MELT scientist Britney Schmidt, and others drill into the Thwaites Glacier ice she

For the first time, researchers have collected data from underneath the remote Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica using an underwater robot. Findings reveal that the supply of warm water to the glacier is larger than previously thought, triggering concerns of faster melting and accelerating ice flow. The findings are published this week (10 April 2021) in the journal Science Advances.
The sheer scale of the glacier captivated Ted Scambos as he looked on from his plane window, thousands of feet above the ice. The widest glacier in the world, the frozen white Antarctic landscape of Thwaites seemed to stretch on forever—an area as large as Florida, and a mile or more thick.